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What Are Some Quick and Easy Ways to Secure Drupal? 7-Step Security Checklist
You have patched your Drupal website, haven't you? If so, then that critical 3-month-old security flaw, Drupalgeddon2, can't get exploited on your site. Even so, with the menace of a cryptocurrency mining attack still lurking around the unpatched websites, you legitimately ask yourself: what are some quick and easy ways to secure Drupal? “Which are the most basic steps to take and the simplest best practices to adopt to harden my Drupal site's security myself?” Now, using keywords such as “security measures”, “quick”, “easy” and “handy”, I've come up with a list of 7 basic steps that any Drupal site owner can (and should) take for locking down his/her website. Here they are, in no particular order:   1. Keep Your Drupal Core and Modules Updated  Not only is this one of the simplest ways to secure Drupal, but one of the most effective ones, as well. Even so more now, with the Drupalgeddon2 Drupal security threat still fresh in our memory, ignoring the regularly released security updates for both Drupal core and its modules is just plain recklessness or... self-sabotage. Keep your Drupal version updated: apply security patches as soon as they get released, avoiding to leave your site exposed and exploitable. As simple as that! And where do you add that this is one of those Drupal security best practices that's the easiest to integrate into your routine. Since to run the latest updates you only need to:   sign in to your Admin panel go to “Manage”  scroll down to “Reports” → “Available Reports” click on “Check manually” if there are any critical security updates that you're advised to run, just click “Update”   This is all it takes for you to: seal any security loopholes in your Drupal core prevent any identified vulnerability from growing into a conveniently easy to access backdoor for hackers to get in   2. Install Drupal Security Modules  Strengthening the shield around your Drupal site with some powerful Drupal security modules is another both handy and effective measure that you, yourself, can easily implement. Luckily, you're definitely not out of options when it comes to good security modules in Drupal. And I'm only going to run a short module inventory here, since I'm already preparing a blog post focused precisely on this topic. Therefore, I promise to delve deep into details about each one of the here-listed modules in my next post:   Secure Login   The Security Review (Drupal 7 only)     Paranoia    Captcha     Two-factor Authentication    Content Access         Security Kit     Password Policy       Automated Logout     Password Strength     Downloading, installing security modules on your Drupal site is both:   quick and simple to do highly effective    And they serve a wide range of purposes, from:   enforcing strong password policies to monitoring DNS changes to locking down your site from security threats to blocking malicious networks to turning on a firewall on your site   As for their selection, it depends greatly on your list of priorities when it comes to improving your site's security. Take some time to weigh and to compare their features.   3. Remove Unused Modules: One of the Easiest Ways to Secure Drupal  Being the “easiest” security measure to implement doesn't make it also “the most popular” among Drupal site owners. Owners who more often than not:   underrate the importance of running a regular module usage audit on their sites ignore the Drupal security threat that an outdated piece of code (or an unused module) could turn itself into, once exploited by an attacker   So, don't be one of those site owners! Are there modules on your site that you no longer use?  That have grown outdated and that are just... lingering there, using your site's resources and risking to grow into an exploitable backdoor for hackers? Identify them and remove them! It won't take more than just a few priceless minutes of your time.   4. Enforce a Strong Password Policy Since it's not just the admin (you do have a smart username and password for logging into your admin dashboard, don't you?) that will log into your Drupal site, but users, too, implementing some strong user-side security measures is a must. In this respect, creating a strong password policy — one that would enforce the creation of complex, “hard-nut-to-crack” type of login credentials — is one the best and the easiest ways to secure Drupal on the user's side. Come up with a policy that defines specific requirements for setting up passwords of high enough entropy (letters, uppercase/lowercase, symbols, different characters combos). And don't hesitate to rely on dedicated Drupal modules for enforcing those requirements defined in your policy:   Password Strength   Secure Login    5. Block Access to All Your Sensitive Files I bet you don't want important folders, core files — upgrade.php., install.php, authorize.php, cron.php —  to be easily accessible to just... anyone, right? So, how about limiting or blocking access to them? And you can easily do that by configuring your .htaccess file —  it's the one containing details of crucial importance regarding your website access and credentials to specific parts and core files on your site: Just specify the IP addresses allowed to access those core folders, files and subdomains. Here's one “enlightening” example: <FilesMatch "(authorize|cron|install|upgrade)\.php"> Order deny, allow deny from all Allow from 127.0.0.1 </FilesMatch> Note! Now speaking of limiting access, don't limit your restrictions to your core folders and files. Remember to restrict/block access to your web server, to your server login details, as well. How? By adding a basic layer of authentication limiting server access and file access usage. Also, do remember to cautiously manage access to certain port numbers that your site/app might be using.   6. Back Up, Back Up, then... Back Up Some More  You can't anticipate brute-force attacks, but you sure can “land back on your feet” if the worst scenario ever happens. And you can only do that if you have a clean and recent backup at hand to just rollback and restore your website. In other words: back up regularly!  And remember to always back up your files and MySQL database before any update that you run on your Drupal code and modules. It is one of those common sense Drupal security best practices that should be included in any basic security checklist! Where do you add that you even have a dedicated Drupal module —  Backup and Migrate — to assist you with this process. Some of the back up “burdens” that this module will take off your shoulders are:   backing up/restoring code and multiple MySQL databases integrating Drush  backing up files directory setting up several backup schedules AES encryption for backups 7. Review All User Roles and Grant the Minimum Permissions Necessary How many user roles are there assigned on your Drupal site? If you don't quite know the answer, then it's obvious: You must give your entire user role system an audit! And to stick to this habit, one of the simplest ways to secure Drupal, after all. Review all the user roles and, most of all, review each one's set of permissions and make sure you trim them down to the minimum necessary for each role.  This way, you'll also limit access to critical files for those users that shouldn't have the permission to download or visualize them. And speaking of permission, do keep in mind to review all your file permissions, as well! See which user roles are granted permission to access key directories or to read, write or modify certain files on your website and block/restrict access where necessary. The END! Of course, this isn't even close to a complete list of ways to secure Drupal. If it had been an exhaustive one, it would have continued with more Drupal security best practices, such as:   getting the SSL Certificate securing HTTP headers using secure connections only   Etc. etc. I've only focused on some of the easiest and quickest measures that anyone, with little, close to no technical know-how at all, can implement. And I feel like stressing out the term “practice” here: Securing your Drupal site is a constant process; a series of persistent efforts and not a one time thing. Remain vigillant and cautious and don't rely on just a one-time, multifaceted security hardening “marathon”.   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jun 28'2018
My Drupal Site Has Been Hacked: What Do I Do? How Do I Restore It? 10 Steps to Clean It Up
Oops! The worst has happened: your Drupal site has been hacked! Maybe it was precisely one of those critical vulnerabilities, that the Drupal security team has been drawing attention to these last months, that the attacker(s) exploited?  Now what? What to do? Should you be:   rushing to restore your website to a healthy, good-working state (that, of course, if you do have a clean and recent backup available)? starting to rebuild it? investigating how your Drupal site got contaminated in the first place: where's the “open door” that the attackers used to get in? focusing on closing any backdoors that could make new attacks possible?   Now “tormenting” yourself with too many questions simultaneously will only distract you from what should be your main objective: cleaning up your website (and preventing further hacks I should add). So, let's go about it methodically, step by step:   Step 1: Write Down Issues, Steps to Take, Preventive Measures to Apply Keep your cool and go for a methodical approach to crisis management: Just open up a document and start... documenting:   the issues and any suspicious activity that you identify on your site all the steps that your strategy for removing malware and restoring your site should include the preventive security measures you commit to taking for preventing such a scenario from happening again the future   Step 2: Make a Forensic Copy of Your Drupal Site  Before you start running your “investigations” on the attack, on how your Drupal site has been hacked, and way before you get to rebuild anything: Make a forensic copy of all your files, you database and your operating system environment! Note: go with an external storage medium for these copies and store them offsite. As you're scanning through your files, detecting viruses and malware and having them cleaned up, feel free to make new and new “working backups”. And to store them in a different directory (from your regular backup files, I mean). “But why bother? When will these backups turn out particularly useful?”   when you call out to a third party to assist you with the troubleshooting process; these “working” backups will then provide a clear picture of the site before you started “malware detecting” on your own when you try to fix the issues you detect, but instead you make them worse; then, you can easily roll back those changes    Step 3: Scan Your Servers and PC for Malware, Malicious Code Injections, Viruses Before you rush to change all the passwords on your site, pause for a moment to think through your next “move”: What if the attack has been “programmed” so that the attacker should get notified once you change your password(s)? And what if it's precisely your PC or one of your servers that's got infected? Then storing a clean backup of your site precisely there would only make it even more vulnerable. So, how do you prevent that? You give both your PC and your servers a deep scan before making any change. And, thank God, you sure aren't nickel and dimed in anti-malware tools and anti-virus software: AVG, BitDefender, Malwarebytes, ESET, AV-Comparatives etc.   Step 4: Detect & Remove the Backdoors One of the crucial steps to take, once you realize that your Drupal site has been hacked, is to “close” all the backdoors. These could easily turn into hackers' access ticket into your site even after you've removed malware and restored it to its healthy state. But, for closing them you first need to... find them right? So, where to look? Here are a few key places on your site that you should focus your “searches” on:   access logs: while scanning them, be vigilant and look for PHP scrips and POST requests added to directories that have writable access   eCommerce set up: check all the payment methods, shipping addresses, credit card addresses, linked accounts, looking for any suspicious, newly added data   passwords: FTP passwords, admin passwords, control panel passwords   email rules and filters: check that the answers to the security questions are “legitimate”, that messages are being forwarded to correct email addresses etc.   Step 5: Consider Taking Your Site Offline And your decision depends greatly on the nature of your site: If it's a hacked eCommerce Drupal site that we're talking about here, then don't wait even one more minute: take your site down (along with the internal network and servers) and install a placeholder! This way, you'll prevent:   malware from being further distributed spam from being sent to your online store's customers   Note: do keep in mind that taking your site offline will instantly let the attackers know that you've detected the malware that they've “infiltrated” and that you are about to “take action”. If you decide not to take your Drupal site offline at the web server level, ensure that you've got your clean forensic copy at hand before deleting all the sessions. Note: have you detected suspicious changes of the passwords? If so, use this query here for updating them (Drupal 7):   update users set pass = concat('ZZZ', sha(concat(pass, md5(rand())))) As for the users, they can easily use the reset password tool for updating their passwords. Word of caution: mind you don't take "Drupal on maintenance mode” for “offline Drupal". They're 2 completely different things! Once your Drupal site has been hacked, the malware could be of such nature that it allows the attacker to infiltrate as long as the site's online.   Step 6: Notify Your Hosting Provider That Your Drupal Site Has Been Hacked  They should be informed about the breach and about your site being taken offline (if it's the case) immediately. The sooner the better, this way they can:   start scanning their own systems for incursions get ready to assist you with your site recovery and securing process   Step 7: Handle Client Data with Extra Precaution  And these are the specific scenarios where you'll need to take extra precautions when handling client information:   your Drupal site stores client information on the web host … it leverages the data POST method for sending form data via e-mail … it doesn't integrate with a 3rd party payment gateway, but manages the payment processes itself   If one of these 3 scenarios suits your case, then here are some of these extra precautions that you need to make to ensure the private user data doesn't get exposed:   update your SSL certificate re-check all logfiles (have any of the hosted client information been copied, updated or downloaded?) implement AVS (address verification system)  add CVV (card verification value) encrypt connections to back-end services used for sending confidential user data    Step 8: Investigate the Attack: Identify the Source(s) of Infection No matter how much pressure you might find yourself under to get your site back online ASAP, don't let take control over your site's restoring process! Not until you've detected the main source of contamination on your site. The key vulnerability that attackers exploited, the key reason why your Drupal site has been hacked in the first place. That being said, make sure that:   you first audit, on a staging server, that “clean” backup of your site that you're planning to get online; this way, you track down and remove infected files, unauthorized settings, malicious code  you compare pre- and post-hack files, looking for any suspicious changes   Now if you have a clean (and recent) backup at hand for running this comparison, the problem's almost solved. Just use the right tools to compare your files and track down discrepancies. But if you don't have a backup at hand, then there's no other way but to: Manually inspect your files and databases to identify any suspicious changes that have been made. look for any suspicious iframe or JavaScript at the end of the files (if detected, save the code in an external file) look for any sources of “Drupal site hacked redirect”; for links to external URLs   Now, as for the places that you should be running your investigations on, let me give you just a few clues:   .php files, .html files  sessions table  newly modified/created files new/updated user accounts  in writable directories and database    Step 9: Do a Full Restore of Your Site  So, you've noticed that your Drupal site has been hacked, you've assessed all the damage caused, removed malware and even detected the vulnerability that hackers exploited to get in, not it's only but logical to: Try to repair your website, right? Word of caution: never ever run your changes on your production site; instead, fix all detected issues on a staging site. Also, once you've cleaned it all up, remember to run the latest Drupal security updates, as well! Now, getting back to repairing your site, you have 2 options at hand:   you either restore a clean backup, if you know the date and time that your Drupal site has been hacked and you're also 100% sure that none of the system components, other than Drupal, got contaminated or you rebuild your Drupal site    The latter method is, undoubtedly more cumbersome, yet a lot more cautious. Go for it if:   you do not know the precise date and time when your site's got contaminated you do not have a clean (and recent) backup available to restore you've evaluated the damages as being already too widespread     Step 10: Give Your Restored Site a Full Check Before Going Live  Do remember to give your newly recovered site a final audit before getting it back up:   remove all malicious code detected suspicious files unauthorized settings   And, most of all: Close all the backdoors!   Final Word  A pretty long, complex and discouragingly tedious recovery process, don't you think?  So, why wouldn't you avoid all these steps that you need to go through once your Drupal site has been hacked? Why not avoid the risk of finding yourself forced to take your website offsite for... God knows how long, risking to impact your site's reputation and to drive away users/online customers? Don't you find it wiser to:   be prepared instead? opt for ongoing Drupal maintenance and support services? make a habit of regularly backing up your website? keep your system and software up to date (and to install all the recommended patches)? stop underrating the security advisories that the Drupal team makes?   ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Jun 25'2018
What Is the Best Way to Port an Android App to iOs and Vice Versa? 5 Aspects to Consider 
If only there was a... button that you could just press to convert your app to Android or iOS, right? Or if only a quick and easy recompilation process had been enough. Or if the “Let's just make it look similar” approach was your “winning card”... There is no such thing as “easier way” to port an Android app to iOS and vice versa. Instead, there are essential aspects to consider and to adjust your whole app porting process to, meant to stir you in the right direction:   navigation design considerations/UX screen size and resolution  code and essential app architecture differences 3rd party services, frameworks, extensions, and used libraries    And, as you might just guess, the list is incomplete. For it includes other factors, as well, such as device support, customer and business model considerations and so on... To keep your app's architecture intact, while porting your app between Android and iOS — 2 platforms with drastically different UIs and core structures — considering the above-mentioned 5 factors becomes crucial. Therefore, let's detail them, shall we?   But What Does App Porting Actually Mean? Its 4 Key Stages  Let's start with some sort of definition of the whole process: By porting your mobile app you're changing or rewriting its code so that it should work on a different mobile OS than the one that it's been initially developed for. Clear enough? “How long does it take to port an Android app to iOS and vice versa?” you might ask yourself. Usually from 1 to 6 months, but it depends greatly:   on your app's complexity on its core architecture on the entire ecosystem of libraries that it uses, on its design particularities on the business logic behind   Speaking of which, analyzing precisely the driving business logic is as critical as it is underrated by developers who usually stick to: adapting a platform and eventually writing the needed extra code. “And what are the essential steps to take to porting my app?” Glad you asked. Here are the main stages that an effective mobile app porting process should include:   analysis and plan technical assessment the porting itself intensive QA    1st Factor to Consider When You Port an Android App to iOS: Navigation  Navigation is the factor that "miles" sets apart the user behavior on Android phone from the user behavior on iPhones.  Here's why:   Android devices are equipped with 3 different buttons: Home, Back and Multitasking button iPhones only have the home button    Now, imagine tapping a multitasking button as in the Android platform: you can't get away with a simple transfer to iOS. Instead, you'll need to write the proper code for it from scratch. And there's more to navigation and to the way that it is drastically different from one platform to the other. For instance:  Both horizontally and vertically displayed elements on iOS vs vertical elements only, on Android devices. Tip: if you wish your iOS app to look similar to its Android alternative, there's always the handy compromise that you can make of placing in-app tabs in the bottom of the screen.   2nd Factor to Consider: Design Considerations/UX You'll have to reconstruct your app's user interface from scratch to convert it from Android to iOS (or the other way around)! Face it, deal with it and... adapt your “battle plan” to it! There's no way around this: When it comes to UI, Android and iOS are just... worlds apart! Android taps into material design, contrasting Apple's signature flat design. Now here are the key design elements that you should pay special attention to, along with some tips on how to make their porting... smoother:   icons: each platform provides you with its rich icon library dialogs font styles: San Francisco or Helvetica Neue in iOS and Roboto in Android content navigation lists object placement: flat vs hierarchical object placement text alignment: center aligned test in iOS vs left alignment of the text in Android buttons: iOS “favors” flat buttons with shadows, whereas in Android you'll find both flat and floating action buttons   Word of caution: when porting apps to Android or from Android, keep in mind the pixels vs points (pt) difference when it comes to measuring icons and font sizes in the two platforms             3rd Factor to Consider: Screen Size and Resolution  Briefly put: it will be conveniently smoother to port an Android app to iOS than vice versa. Why? Because in Android you have a varied collection of screen sizes and resolutions at hand, whereas in iOS it's significantly lighter. So, if it's an app porting to Android that you're planning, do take into consideration all those screen resolutions that are missing in iOS.   4th Factor to Consider: Your App's Essential Architecture  And here's the right approach to adopt when you port an Android app to iOS (or vice versa) and you're preparing to build its new architecture: Identify the minimum OS version that your ported mobile app should support and set up its architecture accordingly.    5th Factor(s) to Consider: Frameworks, Libraries, Extensions, Code Your current app's “infrastructure” of libraries, extensions, 3rd party services and frameworks play a critical role.  A “too critical role” not to turn it into an essential factor to consider once you decide to port your app to a new OS. Therefore, for each one of the used libraries that's not compatible for cross-platform usage you'll need to find a suitable equivalent. And it goes without saying that this calls for: A proper testing of each given framework and 3rd party library, to know for sure which ones support both OS and which ones don't. The good news is that most of them do support them both, making it smoother for you to duplicate most of your app's basic functionalities when converting it to another OS. Now when it comes to the aspect of code, the fact that the 2 platforms use different programming languages influences greatly the way you should port an Android app to iOS: Kotlin and Java are used for building Android apps, whereas Swift is used to develop iPhone apps. Therefore, you can't get away with simply compiling your app's current code into its new ported version. Note: I know what you might be thinking, that both OS support the C-code instead and so, that you could transfer your codebase to the other platform. Yet, it has already been proven that porting apps to Android from iOS calls for a complete rewriting in a different language. How long would it take you? It depends greatly on your app's feature set, on the used 3rd party libraries, complexity etc.   Final Word  As you can see, once you decide to create a “clone” of your iOs app for the Android platform or vice versa, you'll need to take “recompilation” out of your mind. Porting your app won't be that simple! With the 2 platforms having completely different user interfaces and core structures:   careful planning and in-depth analysis (and yes, I'm thinking business logic here) becomes crucial taking into account all those elements that set these OS worlds apart (interface, navigation...) and adjusting your porting strategy accordingly is the only effective way to port an Android app to iOS or vice versa ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 21'2018
How to Fix a Hacked WordPress Site: A Step-by-Step Guide on Identifying and Removing Malware
“Mysterious” pop-ups that you did not initiate, inexplicable auto-linking keywords, frequent freezing of your website... These are all but clear signs that your WordPress site has been hacked! Now what? Where should you look for the “infection”? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to fix a hacked WordPress site. And it goes without saying that the very first step to take is to: Keep calm! Next, you'll need to figure out how precisely that malicious individual has found his/her way into your site. What security vulnerability has he detected and exploited? Once you've determined how your WordPress website's got hacked, figuring out how to remove the malware is already a half-solved problem. So, let's dig in before this hypothetical infection has spread out throughout your entire website:   Step 1: Identify the Hacked Files (and Change Your Password) Remember what we've already agreed upon, that the very first step to take is precisely not to panic? So, while keeping your cool, start your “investigations” by asking yourself 3 key questions  — this, of course, after you've already asked yourself “How to remove malware from my WordPress site?”:   Are you able to access your admin panel? Is your site already marked as insecure (by Google)? Is your site redirecting automatically to another website once you log yourself in?   At this point, I also strongly recommend that you changed your password, as well. And this before you jump to the next step of your investigation. Note: remember to change it again after you've cleaned up your website, as well.   1.1. Give Your Site a Thorough Scan Using a Security Tool/Plugin And I do think that it never gets redundant for me to stress out: Turning on a powerful WordPress security plugin on your website is one of the best shields that you could activate around it. In case of an emergency situation, like this one here, you'd simply enable it to scan your site remotely and track down malware locations and malicious payloads and, most of all: A good security plugin would identify and alert you, in real-time, of all the changes made to your website. Note: everyone knows it, yet most website owners stubbornly ignore the importance of keeping their loads of WordPress themes and plugins updated regularly. They just overlook the fact that out-of-date files are by far hackers' “top favorite” security vulnerabilities.    1.2. Check Whether Your Core Files Have Been Compromised And since they're by far the most valuable files on your site, it's only normal to check their integrity first things first:   wp-includes root folders wp-admin   Most of these core files should never ever be modified. And there are 2 ways of checking them:   you either use the diff command in your terminal or you check them manually, via SFTP   If they're unchanged and therefore clean, move on to the next step of this “how to fix a hacked WordPress site” guide:   1.3. Check the Integrity of the Recently Modified Files It may also be that precisely the recently modified files on your WordPress site are the “corrupted” ones. To know for sure, identify the files that have been recently modified. And again, you have 2 options at hand for this type of “investigation”:   the manual check running the right commands in your Linux terminal   For manually identifying these newly changed files that might have been hacked just go through these steps here:   log into your server (use the SSH terminal or an FTP client) if it's SSH that you're using, then it's this command that will automatically list all the files that got modified the last 15 days: $ find ./ -type f -mtime -15 if it's SFTP that you're using, just scan through the last modified date column for all files on your server … detect any files that recent changes have been made to   Now for tracking down these possibly “infected” recently modified files using the terminal, just follow these 2 simple steps:   run this command in your terminal: $ find /etc -type f -printf '%TY-%Tm-%Td %TT %p\n' | sort -r  next, if you want to identify the directory files, enter this command: $ find /etc -printf '%TY-%Tm-%Td %TT %p\n' | sort -r    Are there any unexplainable changes made to those files in the last 7-30 days?   1.4. Check the Diagnostic Pages  A conveniently handy way to remove a virus from your WordPress website is to “track it down” using Google's or another website security authority's tool to give your site a deep scan with. Has yours already been blacklisted by one of these authorities? Then simply run the Google Transparency Report:   go to Safe Browsing Site Status website enter your website's URL there check both the Site Safety Details and the Testing Details sections    It's a quick and easy way to collect valuable information about any suspicious downloads, redirects, and spams on your site, as well as priceless data about Google's recent scan that ended in malware being detected. Note: another way of identifying malware that's within your reach is by using a free webmaster tool — Google Webmasters Central, Norton SafeWeb, Bing Webmaster Tools etc.   Step 2: How to Fix a Hacked WordPress Site: Removing the Detected Malware After all your preliminary investigations, you should put together your battle plan for actually removing the identified hack from your WordPress site. And for restoring it to its pre-hack clean state, too, obviously. For this, here are the most effective measures at hand for you to apply:   2.1. Is a Clean Backup Available? Use It to Compare Pre-Hack to Post-Hack Files Is there any need for me to stress out that: You should back up your website on a daily basis! And the very situation that you're in now is by far one of the strongest reasons to do that: “How to fix a hacked WordPress site” will get reduced to: “simply comparing a clean backup to the current hacked version of your site!" Identify the files that have been modified and get them removed. It goes without saying that you risk losing some of your files —  those added/updated after the last backup — but you do want a clean website now, don't you? 2.2. Remove the Identified Infected Files from Your Website Once you've restored your WordPress backup, you can easily remove any suspicious plugin, theme or other types of file. Note: do handle core files with utmost caution, though! Mind you don't accidentally overwrite your wp-content folder or your wp-config.php file. When it comes to infected custom files, you could replace them with a clean recent backup or with fresh new copies. “But how do I remove “malicious” code manually?” you might ask yourself. Let me go briefly through all the key steps required:   log into your server (via SSH or SFTP) back up your website track down the recently modified files replace any suspicious files with copies from the WordPress repository use a text editor for opening up any custom files there and remove any suspicious code that you'll detect  test your newly cleaned up website   Word of caution: manually removing a malware infection from your WordPress site does call for special safety measures. Never remove corrupted code without first backing everything up!   2.3. Remove All Malware Infections from Your Database Tables, as Well  Now, you do agree that a “how to fix a hacked WordPress site” tutorial couldn't possibly skip the step where database tables get cleaned up of any malware infection. Here's how you do it:   connect to your database using your database admin panel create a backup of your database give it a deep scan looking for any suspicious content  if detected, open the table containing that specific link or spammy keywords manually remove that infected piece of content give your website a “post database clean up” test remove any tools that you might have used specifically for this operation —  Adminer or maybe Search-Replace-DB   2.4. Check All The User Permissions: Look for New, Unfamiliar User Accounts My advice to you, when it comes to user accounts, to user roles and permissions on your WordPress site is to: Keep just one single admin user and stick to the essential user roles (and granted permissions): author editor contributor  etc.   This is one of the most effective prevention measures that you could take so you don't end up asking yourself “How to clean up a hacked WordPress site?” Now, coming back to our investigation here, here's how you remove all the unfamiliar WordPress user accounts from your website:   first, back up both your site and your database log into your admin panel and click the “Users” tab track down any unfamiliar new user accounts there, hover over them and delete them   Note: another wise thing to do is to re-check each user's roles and permissions. If you feel like updating them, simply use the users' role editor plugin.   2.5. Detect and “Close” all the Backdoors And you want to treat this aspect with maximum seriousness. Otherwise, following each and every step indicated to you in this “how to fix a hacked WordPress site” tutorial becomes... pointless. For the attackers would always have this “secret passage” to infiltrate themselves into your website over and over again. “But what are backdoors more precisely?” you might ask yourself. They're files similar to your site's core files — wp-config.php and key directories such as /uploads, /themes, /plugins —  yet strategically placed in the wrong directories.  Here are some PHP functions that you could recognize them by:   str_rot13 assert base64 move_uploaded_file eval system stripslashes gzuncompress   Word of caution: keep in mind that there are plugins on your WordPress website that could be legitimately be using these PHP functions; therefore, make sure you test all those "apparently suspicious changes" before rushing to remove the so-called "malicious" functions. Otherwise, by removing benign functions, you might just break your website.   2.6. Request a Review of Your Site, to Have all Malware Warnings Removed Now, once you've repaired all the damage caused on your Wordpress site, it's only but logical to... let the blacklisting authorities know that your site's clean now. For this, you can just request a review of your recovered website.   2.7. Change Your WordPress Salt Keys  The very last step to take in this “How to fix a hacked WordPress site” process is to change the security keys from your wp-config.php file: This way, even if a potential attacker stole your password, he would get automatically auto-logged out once you've changed your WordPress salt keys. Next, you can just change your password, as well as the ones of other users on your site.   Or, Just Cut All These Steps Down to a Single One: Preventive Maintenance Which means adopting a WordPress maintenance and support plan tailored just for you and your specific security feature needs. This way, not only that you'd save the time (and spare your nerves) that you'd otherwise invest in carrying out all the steps included in a tedious “how to fix a hacked WordPress site” process, but: From running regular updates to on-going maintenance of your website's core components to regular security audits, you wouldn't need to... move a single finger. Our WordPress maintenance and support team would handle it for you. “Prevention is better than cure” is so much more than just a saying... ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jun 19'2018
What Does It Take to Develop a Mobile-First Content Strategy for Your Drupal Website?
There's no way around it, not anymore: with Google's index now mobile-first, adopting a mobile-first approach when building a new Drupal site (or redesigning a legacy one) is… a must! It no longer depends on a specific project's needs or on the used technology. The need to develop a mobile-first content strategy has gone from particular to universal. And facing the challenge of:   (re)creating optimizing structuring   … content on your Drupal website means conforming to those specific patterns that mobile users have developed for reading content on their smartphones. In short: developing a fully responsive Drupal site comes down to centering your mobile content strategy around the idea that: It's for the smallest screen sizes that you should plan your content for, first things first … then scale it up from there. Now, let's see precisely what it takes to develop a mobile-first content strategy. What focus points and must-have components to include:   1. Take the Smallest Screen Size as the Starting Point In other words: think mobile-first! And by “mobile” I do mean “smartphones” — the smaller the screen size, the better.  This way, you'll be adjusting your content so that it makes the most of the smallest interface. Starting “small” is the best way to stick to the “keep it simple” approach: Thinking through every content-related decision in the light of the viewport size challenge will constrain you to keep the truly essential content elements only. Hence, this “spartan” way of eliminating the unnecessary will reflect on your site's desktop design, as well:  It will turn out cleaner and lighter.   2. Use Visual Content Wisely: Weigh Your Choices of Images  The golden rule when it comes to the imagery that you'll use on your responsive website is: If an image doesn't enhance and complement your content, then you're better off without it! And I know what you must be thinking: “But people remember what they see far more easily than what they read.” True, you need to keep in mind that visuals do come at a cost, though: Those stunning, visually-arresting images on your website risk to divert your users' attention from the message itself. And still, probably the most heavy-weighing reason why you should use images wisely when you develop a mobile-first content strategy is: weigh. Visuals risk to take up valuable screen space and thus:   outshine your calls to action themselves impact your site's overall performance (leading to frustration)   Now that doesn't mean that you should strip your content off ALL the visuals! Absolutely not! Just to be cautious and weigh your every choice, think through your every decision involving the usage of an image.  Once you've selected the truly essential ones, keep in mind:   not to no resize them (or optimize them in any other way) before uploading them to your CMS: let Drupal do the heavy-lifting here  to leverage the Responsive Image module's (Drupal 8) capabilities for resizing them to fit the given screen sizes   3. Content Before Design This is the right sequence to follow when you're designing (or re-designing) your Drupal site with mobile users in mind: First, you create and strategically organize your content and upload it to your Drupal 8 CMS. It's only then that you focus on styling and developing a responsive and visually-striking web design. If it's legacy content that you're dealing with, trying to convert it to mobile, the very first step to take when you develop a mobile-first content strategy is: Removing all the design elements from your written content.   4. Create a Hierarchy of Your Calls to Action Making the most of a small interface means also setting your priorities in terms of calls to action: Pair each one with a corresponding objective, evaluate them all wisely, then select THE call to action that's most critical for you and place it — and it alone — above the fold.   5. Organize and Optimize Your Content for Mobile Devices I'll briefly list all the key requirements that mobile-friendly content should meet — aspects to pay attention to when writing content for mobile devices — for I'm sure they're nothing new to you: the phrases should be kept short and concise, thus eliminating the burden of “never-ending-scrolling” the content should be sharp, targeted and skimmable, so users can easily “digest” it and modular, so that users can swiftly browse through it “modular” meaning made either of multiple clear paragraphs — each one standing for one thought — or chunks of 3 paragraphs at most    6. Optimize Media, too, When You Develop a Mobile-First Content Strategy And there are a couple of essential steps that you mustn't overlook when it comes to mobile-optimizing your media:   always go for thumbnails instead of video players that your users would have to load and thus strain on your site's valuable resources don't ever use autoplay on your audio and video content  optimize your sound, image and video files both for large and small devices   7. Trim Down Your Navigation Menu In other words: when you develop a mobile-first content strategy, consider simplifying your navigation to its truly essential links. No user would gladly scan through a “beefy” navigation menu taking his device's entire screen:   flatten your navigation: stay away from the technique of piling up submenus, layers and navigation points feel free to place the links that you'll remove on other places on your website (or even to turn them into calls to action)   8. Convert Your Legacy Content to Mobile-Friendly Content  If it's a legacy Drupal website that you need to restructure and to adapt to your mobile users' specific patterns for browsing through and consuming content on their smartphones, then it's time you:   dug into your static HTML … and cleaned it up   And by “cleaning it up” I do mean:   removing inline media removing the fixed-width tables eliminating floats with content  breaking it down into skimmable chunks of content   … that can be easily structured into content fields. The END! These are the 8 main aspects to focus on when you develop a mobile-first content strategy.  Now time to test the “saying” that: “Creativity strives under constraints.” … and to make the most of those small interfaces. ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jun 11'2018
What Are The 5 Most Common Angular Mistakes that Developers Make? 
“Learn from your mistakes” should be every developer's life mantra. But that doesn't mean that they should be all your mistakes, right? With a list including the most common Angular mistakes at hand, you'd get to narrow down the number of possible pitfalls that you risk falling into to the... uncommon, the less predictable ones. So, what are the traps that Angular developers fall into most often as they build their applications? We've run our own "investigations" for you:   gone through the code examples on the web ran an inventory of the most frequent questions on StackOverflow looked over some of the issues that we've knocked our heads against while working on our own Angular projects    … and trimmed down our list to 5 most frequent mistakes that Angular developers make: 1. ngOnChanges vs ngDoCheck: Misunderstanding When the ngDoCheck Gets Triggered  "I have used OnPush strategy for my component and no bindings have changed, but the ngDoChecklifecycle hook is still triggered. Is the strategy not working?" I bet that you've stumbled across this question (maybe put into different words) on various developer forums. It could easily win any “popularity” test there since it keeps coming up again and again. But, before we give it a straight answer and settle this matter for good, let's focus on these 2 “change detecting” lifecycle hooks in Angular. And see where the problem stems from: As you well know it, AngularJs has the watch feature, which “alerts” you whenever a value changes. Angular, on the other hand, has replaced the watch and scop feature with component inputs as properties. Moreover, it has added the ngOnChanges lifecycle hook, as well. And here's where things get “tricky” and risk to turn into the trap that many Angular developers fall into: The OnChanges event doesn't emit if/when a deep field of the input property changes. Hence, the value of the input is the reference of the object. How do you approach this problem? You have several methods at hand, in fact, but I'm going to focus on the most common one: Using the ngDoCheck lifecycle hook once you run the change detection process! Now here's the answer that I've promised, to the above-mentioned common developer question: The onPush strategy for detecting changes in Angular does work: the hook is triggered by the design itself!   Note: another ridiculously frequent mistake that developers make is to take "Angular" for "AngularJS"! Be better than that: the term "AngularJS" should be used only when you refer to the old Angular and to Angular 1, while Angular 2/2+ 4 and 5 is just... "Angular". Mind you don't delve deep into this confusion yourself, too!   2. Forgetting to Unsubscribe: One of the Most Common Angular Mistakes  “Forgetting” or simply ignoring this issue.  And you have no “excuse”, you know, for overlooking to clean up your subscriptions in Angular. Considering that there are methods and libraries developed precisely for handling these unsubscriptions once you've finished using an event or an observable in JavaScript. Why does this “clumsiness” risk to grow into a major issue? Because lingering subscriptions cause memory leaks in your system. And when it comes to the unsubscription process, there are 2 scenarios:   you trigger the OnDestroy lifecycle hook if it's in a component that you've subscribed in you initiate the lifecycle hook yourself if it's a service that you've subscribed in (since, in this case, there's no available hook for you to fire)   To recap: Remember to unsubscribe when you no longer use a service/component!   3. The Wrong Use of Providers One of Angular's (compared to AngularJS) key improvements is its Hierarchical Dependency Injection, agree? This means that now you're free to instantiate a service several times (services used to be singletons back in the AngularJS's “glory days”, remember?). Now that being said, let's have a look at a more than likely scenario: Imagine yourself fetching your heroes using a heroes service: @Injectable() export class HeroesService { heroes: Hero[] = []; constructor(private http: Http) { this.http.get('http://give-me-heroes.com').map(res => { return res.json(); }).subscribe((heroes: Hero[]) => { this.heroes = heroes; }); } getHeroes() { return this.heroes; } } Nothing unexpectedly wrong till here:   the data is being fetched in the constructor there's also a getHeroes method for retrieving the heroes    Now, let's take a look at the hero component, too: @Component({ selector: 'hero', template: '...', providers: [HeroesService] }) export class HeroComponent { constructor(private heroesService: HeroesService) {} } @NgModule({ declarations: [HeroComponent] } export class HeroesModule { ... } As you can see, first the HeroComponent declares the HeroesService provider in the @Component.providers array, next it incorporates it in the constructor.  All well and good till you realize that each HeroComponent instance instantiates a new instance of the HeroesService.  To put it more simply: Your HeroesService will be fetching the data (by HTTP request) several times, for each and every HeroComponent instance! And this is due to the Hierarchical DI in Angular. The solution for avoiding this issue — no doubt one of the most common Angular mistakes?  Declaring the service in the @NgModule.providers instead: @Component({ selector: 'hero', template: '...' }) export class HeroComponent { constructor(private heroesService: HeroesService) {} } @NgModule({ declarations: [HeroComponent], providers: [HeroesService] } export class HeroesModule { ... } There! The provider will now be instantiated once and for all. “For all” the HeroComponent instances I mean. “How come?” You might ask yourself. Because the provider (declared in the NGModule now) is a singleton now. Therefore all the other modules can use it.   4. Manipulating the DOM Directly Although I've already said this about another mistake from this list, I now tend to consider this one here instead as being one of the most common Angular mistakes: Manipulating the DOM directly; oftentimes from the controller itself! And this is one of those top 10 Angular mistakes that any developer stands a high risk of making. Since manipulating the DOM is such a common task when using this platform:   you might need to render SVG you might need to refresh a page's title based on a context change you might need to set the focus on a control after a validation error … and the list of possible situations goes on   Then... you fall right into it: you take the easy way out and hack the DOM directly! Now what I feel like pointing out it here is that: Angular's grown from a web framework into a platform! And this can only mean that you're now free to decouple your Angular application's codebase from the renderer and:   have your app executed in on the server … in the browser … as a native app    And decoupling opens the door to other possibilities for you to explore and to tap into, such as using web workers or AOT (ahead of time compilation).   Speaking of the latter: AOT enables you to compile your app's templates in the build time of your server. Moreover, you won't need to use the oversized @angular/compiler package in your bundle, which leads to a lower size and load time. Yet, for future-proofing these “facilities” that Angular provides, you'll need to abide by... some sort of rules at least. And one of them is: Restraining yourself from manipulating the DOM directly, using jQuery, the global document object or the ElementRef.nativeElement. Instead, use the Renderer2 service (or Renderer for Angular 2): It's 2 things that this wrapper to the view mutation layer will enable:   for the default layer to be used in the browser for the renderer to get replaced with a more suitable one whenever your Agular app runs on another platform (e.g. a phone)   In short: Resist “temptation” and never ever touch the DOM directly!   5. Declaring The Same Component in More than Just One NgModule  And declaring a component in multiple NGModule-s is one of those most common Angular mistakes that end up throwing an error “at” you. “Why, so?” Because you need to declare each component in its own NgModule — and to list it in the @Ngmodule.declarations array — in order for it to be available for the views.  If you do need to declare the very same component in multiple modules, you'll need to consider the relationship between those modules: Is it a parent-child one, maybe? If this is the case, then:   use the child's NGModule.declaration to declare the HeroComponent in the child module use the chid's NGModule.exports array to... export the HeroComponent  use the parent's NGModule.imports array to import the child module    If not (if we can't be talking about a parent-child module relationship), then you'll need to declare another NgModule as the module of the shared data.   Final Word  It's only by knocking your head against unexpected issues while building your projects on this platform, that you'll get to grow as an Angular developer. And still, instead of embracing the “fail fast, fail often” concept, wouldn't it be best if you:   learned from other developers' mistakes, thus knowing what the most common Angular mistakes are   ensured that you failed "rarely" instead? ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Jun 05'2018
Top Enterprise Content Management Systems vs Drupal: Comparing Features and Prices 
Content is a way too valuable asset not to handle it with utmost care — from its creation to its revision, all the way to its... distribution. And with utmost efficiency, as well! But how do you choose the business software to “orchestrate” your entire content workflow? Since, on one hand, you have the top enterprise content management systems in 2018 and, on the other hand, you have... Drupal? And the dilemma that you're facing right now could be summed up like this: Choosing between a complex ECM system with a load of powerful tools that comes at a cost and a feature-rich one — already famed for its robustness and customization options — with no price tag on... Now to ease your decision-making process, let's compare these enterprise information management solutions, the top rated ones, to Drupal, by weighing their feature loads and costs.   1. But What Is an Enterprise Content Management System More Precisely? First, let's try to define what we mean by “content” in relation to a content management software: Content is all the written pieces of information entering and “moving about” your organization. It comes in the form of: internal process documents content for your company website (or blog) sales-focused content targeted, custom content available to paying cutomers only ... and the list goes on. As you can see, I've intentionally left out graphical and audio-visual content. And this because it's only text-based digital content that a CMS would handle. Now, coming back to our initial question: An enterprise content management system is a software geared at managing all the processes in your content's lyfecycle: creation, revision, publication, distribution to multiple channels, promotion etc. Packed with different sets of tools designed to automate all your content-based processes, an ECM system is a... “Swiss knife” type of business software. The one you'd use to streamline your content workflow(s).   2. M-Files, One of the Top Enterprise Content Management Systems in 2018 Introducing the enterprise-leveled information management solution of the year: M-files! The promise that it makes?  To break the “siloed information” pattern and enable users to access specific content from any buiness system, any device. … to easily access it, but also to organize it, to manage it, to identify particular information/documents, to set up custom workflows and even to manage document reviews.    Top features   version control  automated workflows pre-built search engine: you get to track documents by type, name, keywords; it provides within-text search features as well  notifications: users get alerted whenever they'll need to review or approve changes made to documents approval processing  permission management and offline access  integration capabilities: it easily integrates with Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, SAP, Salesforce  document collaboration tools: co-authoring features and check-in/check-out tools    Price Mi-files is one of those enterprise content management vendors that leverage the quote-based method for pricing their services. Basically, there are no standard prices, as there are no standard packages that they offer, only tailored content management solutions.   Cons The great majority of negative user feedbacks revolve around the M-Files mobile app's limited functionality.   2. OnBase  Another one of the top enterprise content management systems in 2018 is OnBase: An all-in-one software coming “equipped” with: business process management tools integrated document management tools records management tools And before I “expose” to you its most heavy-weighing features, I feel that I should put the spotlight on its versatility feature first: You get to easily configure your OnBase ECM system to fit any environment of choice.   Top Features    approval process control indexing version control built-in search engine document management   Cons Do expect a steep learning curve! So, be prepared to invest a significant amount of time in growing comfortable with using it. In learning to “juggle” with all its apps and functionalities.   Price You'll need to contact the OnBase team for a custom pricing plan.   3. Box  Box is a cloud content management platform built to assist you with:   online sharing your files storing your files integrating content across your entire “infrastructure” of digital tools via open APIs collaborating within your team   Top Features    granular access permission easy integration with other platforms  advanced security capabilities: device trust, watermarking, data governance easy integration with other platforms collaboration tools: a document management system that enhances collaboration among end-users on various file types and devices; tools which also enable them to choose the right storage place, to set up metadata-driven content workflows etc.   Cons Even top enterprise content management systems manage to collect their own “pile” of “bad reviews”. What users reproach OnBase here, for instance, is its user-based pricing model.  In other words, if you have +100 people in your company, expect to get charged separately for each email domain... and thus to overstretch your budget over time.   Price Box pricing plans start from €4.50 per user/month (we're talking about a starter business plan here) and can go up to $500 per month or more if it's a “build with BOX platform” plan that you'll select.   4. Drupal  And now that we've put the top-rated ECM systems in 2018 into the spotlight, let's see what Drupal here has to offer. How it can counterbalance all these heavy loads of tools, features, and functionalities.   Drupal's Key Features    advanced integration capabilities: Drupal “spoils” its end-users with conveniently accessible API, backed by a rich collection of modules built precisely for 3rd party integrations no maintenance effort required: since it runs in Acquia Enterprise cloud, Drupal gets automatically updated; maintenance is already included in the Enterprise support costs plan feature richness: and we're talking here about features, plug-ins (thousands of them) and content management tools that you get right out of the box modular architecture: which goes hand in hand with the unlimited freedom of customization that you'll get to leverage high performance: Drupal's already famed for its robustness and capabilities to withstand high influxes of traffic unmatched scalability a full toolbox (contributed modules here included) put at editors' disposal: Drupal's also won its reputation as a CMS that's been constantly improved to enrich the experience; all the in-built content-handling tools speak best of its “empower the content creator/end-user” philosophy   Price   license costs: unlike the top enterprise content management systems previously outlined, Drupal's open source; there are no license costs, only support costs associated with the Acquia Enterprise Platform  vendor lock-in: all modules and plug-ins that you might select and mix and match to custom-tune your CMS are free development costs: Drupal resources are available to anyone who wants to build and then to custom tune and scale up its CMS   In conclusion... … Drupal comes feature-packed and, moreover, it “spoils” you with unlimited freedom of customization. And all this without putting a price tag on. On the other hand, some of the top enterprise content management systems do tempt you with their feature richness, but at a cost. One that can go up precisely if you feel like customizing your ECM solution or scaling it up sometime in the future.  In short: you do get your share of customization freedom... but not for free. So, it's not really an “apples vs oranges” type of dilemma that you're facing, but rather an: Apples vs Apples with a price tag on ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / May 29'2018
How to Create an Angular Project with Angular CLI in 5 Simple Steps
About to build your very first Angular app? Then you must be planning to create an Angular project with Angular CLI, right? The much-acclaimed tool that the Angular team built precisely to jumpstart the whole development process. … to have a simple app scaffolded, generated and deployed in no time, by entering just a few commands (so they say, at least).  And since I'm sure that you don't want to waste these bundles of convenience by letting yourself tangled up in overly complex explanations instead, I've kept things simple with this guide. So, here's how you create and run your first Angular project via the Angular command-line interface:   1. But How Precisely Can Angular CLI Jumpstart Your App's Development Process? Take this command-line interface as a starter kit “present” that the Angular team has nicely wrapped for you:   it's practically geared at empowering you to get up and start developing a new Angular app in no time it takes just one short command to generate a default Angular project that would include all the needed dependencies (in the node_modules folder), as well as testing files for each component   Now, this is what I call a major kickstart! It's got you covered from the stage of setting everything up, to creating the Angular project itself, to testing it and finally deploying it. Other key usages of the Angular CLI that we're not going to focus on in this tutorial here are:   real-time server maintenance and support building applications for production adding new features to your existing app  running tests on your application units    2. Setting It Up: Install Angular CLI Globally Before you jump to the part where you create an Angular app using Angular CLI, you need to install the command-line interface itself. Globally! And this is the “power” command to enter in your terminal with the npm installed: npm install -g @angular/cli Notes: if you already have the CLI installed, make sure it's the latest version if you need to update it, these are the commands to enter: npm uninstall -g angular-cli npm uninstall --save-dev angular-cli And there's more! A few more must-have dependencies that you need to make sure that are already installed and upgraded to their latest versions: Node.js: v6.9.x + npm: 3.x.x +   3. Create an Angular Project With Angular CLI With your command line interface ON, use it to enter THE one and only command that will generate a new Angular project for you. One incorporating, by default, all the needed dependencies: ng new ng-yourproject Tada! A “yourproject” named directory has just been generated. That's where your new Angular project — along with all the requested dependencies — gets stored. Eager to test it out? Just run the following command in your terminal: ng serve   Your Angular app will then get built and served up to localhost:4200. Feel free to open this URL in your browser and it's the here-below screen that you should be able to see: Basically, it's the default application shell itself rendered by the CLI.   4. “Deconstructing” Your New Angular Project: What Does It Include? Now, before you go ahead and do your “tweaking” on your newly created app, let's see what you've got in there! What are the elements that the CLI has generated for you to help you jump to development right out of the box? For this quick “scan”, open your Angular project in your IDE of choice and start “exploring” your src/folder:   src/*    styles.css any styles that you'll plan to apply globally, it's this file that you can add them to; and it's here, as well, that you can import new .css files (Bootstrap or any other styling frameworks of your choice)   index.html  where your Angular app gets started   src/app/*    app.component.ts this is where your app's one and only (for now at least) component gets stored   app.module.ts  the modules Angular needs for managing your app's components note: @NgModule marks the class file as a module and this is what makes it similar to @Component   5. Create a New Component  Remember your “one and only component” that I mentioned during the previous “inventory” of all the “bunch of stuff” that CLI has generated in your project? Well, how about creating a new one now? One that would load under that root component? Just run the following command to generate it: ng generate component the-quote Next, time to “show it off” in your browser: <h3>{{myQuote.quote}}</h3> <small>- {{myQuote.by}}</small> Add the app-the-quote selector to the root component that the CLI generated in your Angular project: <h1> {{title}} </h1> <app-the-quote></app-the-quote> 6. Apply External Styling  Now you do agree that when you create an Angular project with Angular CLI applying styling is a key step. So, let's add your favorite CSS framework to your new application! Me, it's Bulma that I'll be using in this tutorial here: npm install bulma --save With our CSS framework installed, we'll need to enable it to load the CSS file into our Angular app. For this, just place the relative path within the .angular-cli.json file., to the file in the styles array more precisely. ... "styles": [ "../node_modules/bulma/css/bulma.css", "styles.css" ], ...   “Tempted” to display some icons now, as well? Then go ahead and add the font-awesome library as cdn link. For this, just include the stylesheet right into your index.html: <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/font-awesome/4.7.0/css/font-awesome.min.css"> Et voila! This is how you create an Angular project with Angular CLI! What do you think? Is the Angular command-line interface an extremely useful tool to jumpstart your project with or did you expected your “starter kit” to include, right out-of-the-box, more elements to get you started? ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / May 25'2018
How to Speed up Your Magento 2 Store on Mobile Devices: 5 Tweaks That You Can Make
What can you do to speed up your Magento 2 store on mobile devices? For let's face it: Magento 2's “ecosystem” of third-party extensions and overall its modular architecture is convenience at its best for any developer! For any eStore owner. It empowers them both to start small and then scale it up to their most daring goals. Yet, all this power placed in your hand does come at a cost: reduced speed. And top speed is crucial if you're determined to deliver a great mobile user experience. So, what are the tweaks that you can make to boost your eStore's performance? Luckily, there are plenty, ranging from:   well-known (and too frequently underrated) best practices, like optimizing your product images to slightly more in-depth “tweaks”, like inlining critical CSS   But, let's dive right in! Here's your “emergency kit“ of 5 solutions to apply to your Magento 2 store for improving its performance on mobile:   1. Reduce Page Size to Increase Page Loading Speed  And it's still those “too obvious to be truly effective” type of techniques that have the biggest impact on an eStore's performance on mobile devices: Lower your web page size and it will make a drastic difference for your mobile users' experience with your online store; especially for those accessing your site from mobile devices with low bandwidth. Now here are a few simple, yet effective tweaks that you can make to reduce page size:   1.1. Use GZIP  to Compress Your Pages A handy “trick” that you can perform is to enable GZIP (if it's not already enabled) and let it “work its magic” on your web page's size. It will compress:   fonts CSS files external scripts JS   … cutting your pages' “weight” down by almost 70%. Note: put any of your front-end pages to the Google PageSpeed Insights “test”; take note of the GZIP-related warnings popping up and ensure that the CSS/JS compression feature is enabled.   1.2. Enable JavaScript/CSS Files Minification Here's another built-in Magento 2 feature that all you need to do is... trigger to speed up your Magento 2 store on mobile devices: CSS/JS files minification. Note: do keep in mind, though, that it works in production mode only (so not in default or developer mode, as well)! Here's how you enable it:   Navigate to the backend menu Stores > Configuration > Advanced > Developer Set your app/site's production mode:   php bin/magento deploy:mode:set production Note: not sure what mode your eCommerce site's running on now? Enter the following command to identify its current mode: php bin/magento deploy:mode:show 1.3. Optimize Your Product Pages  And the more crowded your product catalog is, the more important this solution becomes! “Are you implying that I should take each and every one of my product images and optimize them... one by one?” you might ask yourself. Definitely not! Since there are at least 2 easy solutions that you could go for:   you can use a content delivery network (CDN) as it will take the image optimization “burden” off your back you can leverage the Google PageSpeed (GPS) server extension; it will compress your images in no time, among other “tricks” that it performs to speed up your Magento 2 store on mobile   2. Reduce The Server Response Time to Speed up Your Magento 2 Store  Optimizing your server's response time (or “time to first byte”) is another critical tweak that you can do to boost your Magento 2 store's speed.  Set your “target” to 0.5s, the time a browser would need to wait for your website's server response. “But why bother, since Magento provides me with full-page cache functionality right out of the box”, you might wonder. That's true, but just consider particular pages, such as checkout, customer pages, cart, that this pre-built functionality can't “work its magic” on.   2.1. Run a Throughout Audit on Your Third-Party Extension "Load"  Start reducing your server response time with a basic, yet so very effective step: Audit your entire modules infrastructure! identify any issues with your current plugins and (if any) look for a patch or replace them with more performant ones turn them on and off just to detect any negative impacts on your Magento 2 site's performance    Note: as a rule of thumb, try keeping your Magento 2 third-party extensions to a minimum! Trim down your collection of modules keeping only the must-have ones; otherwise, its weight will affect your eCommerce site's performance!   2.2. Use Magento 2 Profiler to Detect Any Server Performance Issues “What's a profile?” you ask.  A program geared at identifying just how much time a code block needs to execute. Using a profile you'll be actually drilling deep(er) into your Magento 2 store's internals to detect the very root cause of your bad server response time!   2.3. Consider Upgrading Your Hosting Plan Is it time you upgraded your hosting server? More RAM and CPU will always have a huge impact on your eCommerce website's performance, you know. So, how do you know whether it's time to upgrade? Just install a brand new Magento 2 website on your current server. If it's speedier than your live website, there's no need to change your current hosting plan. In this case, you'll only need to focus on the other tweaks included in this list here to speed up your Magento 2 store on mobile.   2.4. Use Varnish as a Full-Page Cache (FPC) Solution Another trick for improving Magento 2's performance is to leverage Varnish, the software that caches and serves content. The good news is that Magento 2 supports it natively. And here's how you trigger its “power”:   navigate to the backend menu Stores > Configuration > Advanced > System > Full Page Cache   Note: you'll need to enter a hostname, port and Varnish export configuration; if in doubt, ask your system admin for a hand to set everything up properly. 3. Load and Render Above-the-Fold Content First  Prioritize the content that appears before scrolling down! It will make all the difference when it comes to your Magento 2 eStore's page loading time! And now, here are the techniques at hand for loading and displaying this content first:   3.1. Defer Loading JavaScript  Moving all your JS code to the bottom of the page (“beneath the fold”) will implicitly make your AF (above-the-fold) content load quicker. You'll basically postpone the time-consuming parsing of JS code and thus speed up your Magento 2 store on all mobile devices! The good news is that there already are Magento 2 extensions that do the job for you. They'll move all your non-critical JS scripts beneath the fold!   3.2. Inline Critical Above-the-Fold CSS “But what about the above-the-fold CSS?” you might legitimately ask yourself.  How do you approach these critical files? For you definitely can't place ALL your CSS at the bottom of the page, now can you? Well, first you:   extract/isolate precisely this “critical” CSS then you inline it straight to the HTML; right between <head> and </head> tags   This way, it will get loaded and rendered first (before the non-critical CSS), along with the rest of the above-the-fold content.  Note: you might be tempted to go for one of those tools “promising” you to extract this CSS for you. Unfortunately for you, manually setting the critical CSS for each one of your pages (homepage, checkout, category etc.) is the right way to do it.   4. Leverage the Power of HTTP/2  By moving your Magento 2 website over to HTTP/2 you'll grant your eStore users a secure and faster-browsing experience. Not to mention the impact that it will have particularly on the experiences of those customers using a slow mobile network to access your online store. The tremendous news is that Magento 2 co-exist with HTTP/2 by default. Yet, there are 2 conditions that you need to make sure your online store meets:   your hosting server should already support HTTP/2 your eCommerce web pages should be served via SSL   Note: run your own "investigation" and look for some suitable extensions providing server pushes.   5. Magento 2 Performance Optimization: Disable JS Bundling But why would you want to disable a Magento 2 feature that actually lowers the HTTP requests made by your browser for loading and rendering a web page? Because it comes with its own side-effects, the main one being the oversized JS file that this feature generates, of about 5-10 Mb. Moreover, it's proven that downloading this huge external file takes more time than the time you'd actually be saving by reducing the no. of HTTP requests. Now that we've tackled the “Why”, let's focus on the “How”, as well. Here's how you disable JS bundling:   go to your website's backend menu Stores > Configuration > Advanced > Developer and apply the following configuration:   Note: there's no need to disable this JS files grouping feature if you're already using HTTP/2! The END! These are but 5 of the handiest solutions that you could use to speed up your Magento 2 store on mobile. As you can see, the list includes nothing more than predictable “tweaks” and well-known best practices that you should stick to.   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / May 23'2018