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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Redesigning Your Drupal Website
  Drupal web development can be challenging sometimes—depending on the knowledge of the one performing it. On one side, this popular content management system provides amazing opportunities for customizing websites to meet the specific needs of brands, boosting web traffic, and business recognition.  On the other hand, Drupal web development requires skilled developers and site builders that master the art of the Drupal project. We, at Optasy, know that Drupal web development can be challenging and keep many developers up at night. That's why we crafted this article to help you on your journey with Drupal. More exactly, this post covers five mistakes to avoid when redesigning your Drupal website. It will help you gain key insights into the technical, creative, operational, financial, and strategic decisions that you have to consider through your Drupal web development journey.  Let's roll up our sleeves and start learning from the mistakes of others. But first, how do you identify when it's time for a website redesign?   Your website is not mobile-responsive. To avoid losing credibility and value, your website has to be optimized for a wide range of devices. Since 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile nowadays, optimizing your Drupal website for mobile is a must.  Navigation on your website is slow. Online visitors are now expecting seamless digital experiences at the tip of their fingers. A poorly functional website will chase them away and affect your brand's credibility.  Your website is more than five years. As the digital landscape is changing at a rapid pace, a complete revamp for your Drupal website is necessary from time to time.   Now that you have a clearer picture of whether you should plan a redesign project for your Drupal website or not, it's essential to understand what you should avoid doing in this process.    #1 Mistake Skipping the analysis of your existing website. To solve an issue, you must be aware of it in the first place, right? The most successful companies are proficient at analyzing and identifying challenges in their workflows and proactively search for ways to overcome them.  To evolve you must focus on your vulnerabilities and clearly define your weak spots. Only then, you can gain a sharper perspective of your destination.  Key questions to ask yourself when analyzing your current Drupal website are: How many visitors is my website attracting? What's the average loading speed of my site? Is the bounce rate too high? Where does my website rank on SERPs?   #2 Mistake Redesigning without a clear purpose. Like all things in life, your redesign strategy should have a well-defined goal (or goals). You can't build a lasting plan without first outlining its primary purposes. With that in mind, here are the main questions that can help you craft precise objectives: Where do you want your Drupal website to be in the next six months? How will the new versions of my pages help me reach my goals? What digital tools do I need in order to accomplish my objectives? When drawing your redesign plan, you need to know why you are doing it and then align your site updates with your marketing goals.   #3 Mistake Not establishing analytics benchmarks. Now that you've gained a clearer perspective of your Drupal redesign plan and goals, it's time to start focusing on setting metrics related to the performance of the old version of your website. Google Analytics is a reliable resource that can help you with this, by providing these types of benchmarks: Visits that actually lead to sales conversions How much time users spend on site, overall visits, and banner click-through rates Lead generation  When it comes to SEO, these are the metrics you should try to benchmark: Website traffic Organic traffic-generating pages Inbound links Conversion rates   #4 Mistake Not investing enough resources in a robust content strategy. Content is still king. Around 70% of companies actively invest in content marketing. Why is content marketing so important? Because it answers your audience's questions. It helps businesses build trust and generate more high-quality leads.  That's why you should redesign your Drupal website with content in mind and consider the pain points of your audience when crafting your content strategy.  What does a content strategy for the website look like? Defined goals and target audience Analytics & SEO review Content inventory & audit Style guidelines and publishing strategy Omnichannel/cross-platform considerations SEO strategy and metadata standards   #5 Mistake Ignoring your competition.  Competitive intelligence refers to the ability to gather, analyze, and leverage insights related to your competitors in order to better understand the market and make stronger strategic decisions.  How to get started with competitive intelligence? Step 1: Know your competitors. Determine which are your top five direct competitors and then your indirect, aspirational, and perceived rivals.  Step 2: Collect your intel. This might be the most time-consuming part of the competitive intelligence process. At this point, you want to take the time to explore your competitors' online presence, products, websites, social media posts, teams, content, etc.  Step 3: Craft your competitive analysis. Once you've gathered your intel, you should focus on breaking down the data and organize the findings such as trends or key insights so that you can easily communicate them throughout your enterprise.  Step 4: Turn competitive intelligence into results. Make your data actionable and leverage it to benefit your overall business tactics.    Wrapping up Having these key insights on board when you start your Drupal redesign project will help you navigate the whole process a lot easier.  Optasy can also support you in getting more out of your Drupal website with top-notch Drupal web development, maintenance, and support offerings—whether you want to build or upgrade your Drupal site. Have a look and contact us if you want to accelerate your digital transformation.   Image credit: mohamed_hassan on Pixabay.    ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 15'2021
Why You Should Build Medical Chatbots for Your Healthcare Business
  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the global healthcare sector's workforce, supply chain, and infrastructure. The industry's efforts to overcome the healthcare crisis include accelerating digital transformation across the ecosystem to help health systems quickly adapt and innovate. Digital transformation initiatives involve adopting virtual reality tools, wearable medical devices, 5G technologies, telehealth, and artificial intelligence (AI).  One of the ways AI could revolutionize the healthcare industry is through medical chatbots.  According to a recent survey, 78% of physicians think that chatbots would be most beneficial for scheduling doctor appointments, as well as locating health clinics or providing medication data.  Conversely, around 70% of physicians believe that chatbots cannot effectively care for all patients’ needs and display human emotion. Despite some’s existing skepticism, the truth is that the healthcare chatbot industry is developing and is expected to reach $542 million by 2026. What are medical chatbots and how can they help? Chatbots are a form of AI developed with machine learning algorithms, including natural language processing, to provide real-time assistance for users.  Members of the healthcare ecosystem have already started to leverage these AI-enabled technologies, which have proved to be especially useful in: Simplifying patient care Cutting unnecessary costs Enabling streamlined telehealth delivery Reducing overload Improving healthcare outcomes Facilitating the patient experience  These AI-powered conversational solutions can help patients, insurance companies, and healthcare providers to connect more conveniently within the healthcare ecosystem. The role of medical chatbots in making relevant healthcare data available to the right people at the right time is an important one.  Among the key challenges healthcare professionals encounter is meeting the patient's demands and providing a streamlined patient experience. Healthcare chatbots can transform the remote healthcare delivery experience and support patients in understanding their conditions and treatments without visiting a doctor.  How healthcare chatbots can make life simpler in the industry There are three primary use cases of chatbots in healthcare. Healthcare providers use several AI-powered tools that vary in style, work, communication, and type.  1. Conversational chatbots Depending on their model, these chatbots deliver different levels of conversation and respond to the patient's intent. In comparison with the most basic chatbot that can only provide pre-set answers to repetitive questions, AI-enabled conversational bots deliver more personalized responses and resemble human communication. Healthcare organizations use these types of chatbots to optimize remote healthcare delivery and reduce healthcare professionals' overload.  2. Informative chatbots They provide helpful information to patients through notifications, reminders, or alerts. Automated information and customer support services are generated to help patients stay updated and access more detailed insights about any topic.  This is especially valuable in times of crisis when things change from one day to another and nothing is certain. As doctors and medical staff are under a lot of strain lately and can't meet the patient's need for information, informative chatbots seem like a smart and reliable solution.  3. Prescriptive chatbots Woebot is a type of prescriptive chatbots designed by the Stanford University to prescribe medical treatments like any other doctor. Unlike conversational bots, these AI-powered chatbots aren't built to respond but deliver therapeutic solutions, prescribe medications for everyday illnesses and even more severe diseases.  Prescriptive chatbots also help patients with their ongoing treatments by assisting them in taking their medicines regularly.  How to develop a medical chatbot Decide on the purpose of the project. What are you looking to solve by creating a healthcare chatbot? Maybe you want to keep your patients informed, or you are interested in simplifying the way you plan medical appointments. Whatever the use case for your new medical chatbot, it's essential that you clearly formulate it before you begin your development journey. Choose the right web development team. This may require outsourcing your medical chatbot development project to a field expert development team. Optasy offers AI-powered software development services that will help you make the most out of next-generation technologies.  Build a user-friendly interface. And optimize your application for mobile. This is extremely important in today's digital world, where patients demand seamless and convenient experiences at their fingertips.  What comes next for healthcare and AI? Patients are increasingly attracted to the idea of remote healthcare, especially in the current medical landscape. With proper algorithms, scripts, and AI integration in standard healthcare delivery, chatbots can continue to develop into powerful tools for medical care and treatment.  The future of medical chatbots rests in intensive research and testing. An excellent example of this kind of evolution is the use of AI in Radiology. After many years of research, AI-powered applications can now identify imaging results much faster and more accurately than the human eye ever could. This not only improves the quality of care and helps in the early detection of many conditions but also supports healthcare professionals in delivering faster, more reliable medical services.  That being said, the future of AI in healthcare seems bright. Bridging the gap between technology and healthcare delivery is an essential step towards a better quality of care and a more connected healthcare ecosystem.  At Optasy, we support you on your AI-powered journey so that you can:  Automate repetitive, manual operations across all departments and boost productivity. Gain quick and easy access to your data and make data-driven decisions only. Have your data automatically turned into actionable insights that you can leverage. Add an extra layer of physical and digital security to your business, taking human error out of the equation. Have an artificial “brainpower” automatically monitoring your business' overall performance. If you are interested in more AI-powered and Drupal web development services, contact Optasy. Photo credit: NCI on Unsplash        ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 09'2021
4 Reasons Why You Need Drupal Maintenance Services
  Entering the world of Drupal web development can feel like diving into the unknown for many business owners. Once they've figured it out with the help of a developer or a Drupal development agency, the business runs smoothly for a little while.  However, building and optimizing a website is like buying a new house—it's functional at first, but things break down and need repairing and regular care in time.  Since spring is just over the corner, what better moment to start cleaning, improving, optimizing, and refreshing your website? Whether you do it in-house or hire an agency that offers Drupal maintenance services, it will work wonders and could actually double your potential market value. But first, it's essential to understand why a regular maintenance plan is critical, how to tell when you need Drupal maintenance, and what does Drupal maintenance include. This article will answer these questions.   Why you should stick to a regular Drupal maintenance plan  If you've already entered the world of digital marketing, you know that the journey towards attracting and retaining customers doesn't end with web development and deployment. Change is a permanent constant in life, and businesses have to adapt to this ever-changing dynamic.  Security  A few years ago, website maintenance was optional. Building a static website that you could leave unattended for the entire year was perfectly normal.  Today, as the digital landscape has expanded and become more prone to security vulnerabilities, Drupal support is imperative for maintaining a healthy security posture.  Although Drupal is known for being the most secure CMS, this only applies if your Drupal website is regularly optimized with security updates and patches. The Drupal community and Drupal security team continuously build security patches, fixes, and upgrades, and Drupal users need to be in the loop about these updates. In other words, keeping up with the news and module updates in Drupal security is vital in order to avoid breaches.  Constant Drupal core module updates can boost website protection and secure it against cyberattacks and threats.  Fixing errors To ensure that your website performs well and meets the needs for speed and agility that the modern digital user demands, fixing bugs and errors is a top priority. These malfunctions may happen for multiple reasons—rushed coding and deployment, inadequate testing, or miscommunication. They may affect your site's performance and loading speed or even alter your Drupal website’s functionality.  And since users don't want to spend more than four seconds waiting for websites to load, not paying attention to repairing bugs could cost you customers.  This price is too big to pay, and it's worth considering Drupal maintenance services as part of your website strategies.  Keep your content fresh with new features Another reason why Drupal maintenance matters is related to scalability. Drupal websites can grow together with your business goals. Constant feature and module updates allow Drupal users a high level of customizing capabilities that helps businesses keep up with the changing needs of the customer.  With Drupal 8, integration is much more affordable, so if you haven't migrated yet, you might want to contact a Drupal agency to help you decide whether an upgrade is the right choice for your business.  The user behavior has dramatically shifted in the last year, which is why content optimization, new features, and enhancements allow brands to stay fresh and align to this changing environment.  SEO optimization Ranking high on Google and other search engines is crucial for your website to stay relevant. An excellent Drupal maintenance team has SEO experts that provide Drupal SEO audits and optimization.  “Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.” – Jill Whalen   How to tell when you need Drupal maintenance If you're not yet convinced that you need Drupal support and maintenance services for your website, here are some indicators that you can't postpone it any longer without hurting your business: Your website is slow, and you have received complaints about its loading speed. Your web traffic has dropped considerably. You experience more security breaches. Your content and design are outdated. Links, buttons, or forms are not working.   These are some of the red flags of poorly maintained websites. If you recognize these warning signs as part of your website, it's definitely time to start planning your maintenance strategy. What do Drupal maintenance services and support include? A useful maintenance model covers: Security and module updates Third-party integration support Regression testing  Bug diagnosing, fixing, and testing Hosting infrastructure maintenance Hack, malware, down recovery   Partner with the right Drupal maintenance and support agency When thinking about hiring a Drupal maintenance team, you need to consider your needs. At Optasy, we cover a wide range of website maintenance requirements and can create a customized maintenance and support plan to support your website's specific needs.  How does this sound to you? Have you made up your mind whether it is worth investing in Drupal maintenance services or not? If yes, then contact a reliable, dedicated support partner like Optasy and see how our Drupal maintenance services can keep your website up and running.  Photo credit: geralt on Pixabay.     ... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Mar 02'2021
4 Key Things to Know When Optimizing Your Drupal Website for Mobile
  Approaching a mobile-first strategy for your Drupal website is imperative. Since 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, businesses that want to strive must ensure that they optimize their site for mobile.  Why is mobile optimization important? A website designed for desktop use can be non-functional on a phone or tablet. Building a mobile-friendly site that looks good regardless of how users access it is no longer optional for companies that want to deliver high-quality digital experiences.  "If I were to start Drupal from scratch today, I'd build it for mobile experiences first and desktop experience second." - Dries Buytaert, founder and lead developer of the Drupal CMS There are plenty of benefits and competitive advantages of implementing a mobile-first approach to your Drupal website. We'll name a few: Positively impacts search ranking Improves loading times Increases visibility across all devices Enhancing mobile performance for Drupal websites is not rocket science, but if you're a rookie in web development, hiring a Drupal developer to help you implement some of the steps highlighted in this article may be the safest strategy.  Without further ado, let's start to learn how you can optimize your Drupal website for mobile use.   1. First things first: you need a mobile menu.  Start your mobile optimization journey by installing a mobile menu that enables navigation links to be displayed accurately on narrow screens.  A popular style for mobile menus is the 'hamburger' icon. This type of menu is substituted by a symbol with three horizontal lines when the screen narrows to a particular width. When clicked on, the icon displays the mobile-friendly main menu of the Drupal website. Want to use this type of menu? Start by installing the Responsive Menus module and download the tar.gz.file.  In your dashboard, open the Extend tab and select the Install New Module button.  Lastly, use the file browser to upload the tar.gz file. You should now be ready to use the module to customize and style your website's menu.  Remember that you can also hire Drupal developers at any stage of your optimization process to help you streamline your operations.    2. Don't ignore code minification.  One of the top priorities for mobile site functionality is quick loading times. As CSS or HTML files can get bulky, removing unnecessary elements from your website's code can help it render more fastly.  There are a few steps for successfully minifying your code: Install the Minify module  Download the tar.gz file and unarchive it Move the resulting folder into your website's Drupal modules section.  Enable the module from your dashboard You also have the option to enable the minify module to start working automatically. This will assist your Drupal website in loading quicker on mobile devices and thus improving the user experience.    3. Browser cache implementation for mobile-friendly Drupal websites. The next step in optimizing your Drupal site for mobile is to implement browser caching, which allows a user's browser to store data, so it doesn't have to repeatedly download the same files.  This reduces latency if, for example, your site has an extensive background image. The browser caching allows the picture to be stored on each visitor's device, so it doesn't have to be downloaded every time the user visits your site.  Browser caching is a built-in tool in Drupal, and although you can configure it in your control panel, we recommend that you consult the official guide before doing it or hire a Drupal developer to help you.    4. Consider image optimization.  Websites that contain many large image files can have longer loading times on mobiles. You don't want that if your goal is to provide high-quality experiences for your mobile users. Therefore, you can start optimizing your images to accelerate your site's performance. How can you reduce the size of your photos without jeopardizing their quality? It's actually easy. Drupal's ImageAPI Optimize module helps you manage your images before uploading them onto the website.  You only have to download the module's tar.gz file, install, and enable it in your dashboard. To automatically optimize your images for mobile devices, make sure to select ImageAPI Optimize as the default toolkit.  When creating responsive images, the amount of space an image fills on the screen is significant. Drupal lets you use @media rules to modify images depending on each user's screen size. This high level of personalization is allowed by the Breakpoint and Responsive Images modules.    Why Drupal 9 might be the best option for a mobile-first approach The latest version of Drupal provides optimized modules and features for mobile devices that enhance the user experience and address modern customers' needs.  Among the key benefits of Drupal 9 for mobile optimization are: Improved speed of content delivery Responsive design for various screen's widths  Editing content on mobile is easier  In conclusion, if you want to deliver high-quality, personalized user web experiences in the modern era, optimizing your website for mobile devices is a must. Optasy can help you build a mobile-first approach that satisfies the need for speed and high functionality that today's mobile users expect.  Image credit: deeptuts on Pixabay... Read more
Raluca Olariu / Feb 22'2021
10 Best Headless CMS in 2020, That Cover Most of Your Requirements (Part 2)
Ready to compare the features of 5 other best headless CMS in 2020? We've got them ready for you to just dive in and: survey the key reasons why you'd choose one over the other discover each one's main use cases narrow down your options … and pick the one that matches your requirements. What Is the Best Headless CMS in 2020? 5.6. Directus An open source tool for managing and delivering content across an entire network of platforms and devices. And here are some of the top reasons for choosing Directus: it provides your editorial team with an easy to use admin app for managing content it can be in the cloud or self-hosted it provides API for your development team to fetch content 5.7. Netlify CMS  One of your top 10 headless CMS options, an open source one, that you get to add to any static site generator of your choice. A React single-page application that provides you with an easy to use UI, playing the role of a… wrapper for your Git Workflow. Basically, when using Netlify CMS your content gets stored in your web app's git repository (as markdown files), close to your codebase.   "How does a Netlify CMS Gatsby setup work?"   It's pretty straightforward: You enter your content via that user-friendly interface, then Gatsby uses it to come up with the right pages for your web app. Why would you use it? it fits both large and small-sized projects, with fewer pages to create, to add content to, to edit, and to manage you get to review/preview your content and make changes in real-time, and even control entries status in editorial workflow mode it provides you with an easy-to-use UI, with just 3 tabs: workflow, media, and content you're free to use it with any static site generator you get to extend its functionality: add your own UI widgets, editor plugins, customized previews, etc. 5.8. GraphCMS     An API-first content management system, a GraphQL-native one, that allows you to distribute content across multiple digital platforms. And not just anyhow, but… within minutes. Your developer team gets to create content APIs in no time, whereas your content team gets all the tools they need for a smooth editor experience.   Source: capterra.com GraphCMS vs Contentful: Main Differences GraphCMS works best for enterprise and mid-market companies, enabling them to build highly scalable applications GraphQL is its underlying technology: an open source query language for APIs, that's been growing more and more popular among developers Contentful targets top global brands, helping them distribute digital content experiences across complex networks of markets and channels REST is its underlying technology: a programming paradigm for distributed systems And here are 2 good reasons for choosing GraphCMS as your go-to headless content management system:  you get a CMS that's client-side and JAMstack compatible you get to tap into the benefits of a JAMstack approach to development (JavaScript & Markup & API) 5.9. Cosmic A cloud-hosted headless content management system that provides you with both GraphQL and REST APIs. But what makes Cosmic one of the best headless CMS in 2020? Why choose the Cosmic Headless CMS?  it ships with features like content modeling, media management, localization, and webhooks it grants you a smooth editor experience with its WYSIWYG  editor, that you can use to incorporate (by embedding code) third-party services like Typeform and GitHub. it integrates smoothly with AWS, Slack, Algolia, Stripe, HubSpot 5.10. Kentico Kontent A cloud-based content delivery API that turns your structured content into content that's easy to be "consumed" by any device or digital platform that you might use as a front-end delivery layer.  Why would you choose it over other great options of headless CMS? you get an AI chatbot when using Kentico Kontent it provides webhooks and custom elements that make third-party integrations a lot smoother you get content management API enabling content consumption And we've come to… the END of the list of 10 best headless CMS in 2020. Which one checks the most features off your list? Now, if you're facing a "Headless Drupal 8 vs Contentful" dilemma, we're here to: help you identify the one that works best for your business and your requirements make your headless CMS-based project work Just drop us a line!   Image by tdfugere from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 26'2020
10 Best Headless CMS in 2020, That Cover Most of Your Requirements (Part 1)
Overwhelmed with options? Are you building your first (e-commerce) headless CMS and you don't know what headless CMS platform to choose?  What are the best headless CMS in 2020, so you can at least narrow down your choices and start... somewhere? Which system matches most of your feature requirements? Here's a top 10: 1. But First: What Is a Headless CMS, More Precisely? Relax, I won't bore you with too many details — we already have an in-depth post on the differences between headless and traditional CMS. So, if we were to sum up the concept in just a few words, we could say that: A headless content management system is an architecture where content is separated from the presentation layer (the client-side front-end). Meaning that you get to create, store, and edit "raw" content (with no design or layout) in the backend and deliver it wherever needed —wearable, mobile app, website — via API. In short, what you get in a headless architecture is: a database to store your content in a dashboard for editing your content Source: Zesty.io As for the "head" that serves your content to the end-user : you're free to build your own front-end, from the ground up … and even multiple front-ends, if needed, that will all use calls from the API to retrieve and display content 2. … Then What's a Decoupled CMS? Headless CMS vs decoupled CMS: what's the difference? And why headless over decoupled? The role that the API plays… That's what makes the difference (and why you'd want to go for a headless approach): If, in a decoupled architecture, the API plays the role of an intermediary between back-end and front end, in a headless architecture the API can be used by any of the front-end portions for pulling data. In other words, a decoupled CMS does come with a built-in front-end delivery layer, that you can rely on, but a headless approach is an API-driven content repository. Which gives you more flexibility for delivering content to any type of display layer. … to multiple "heads". You're free to distribute it wherever it needs to get displayed. 3. Why Choose a Headless CMS? Top 9 Benefits Before I "divulge" the best headless CMS in 2020 to you, here's a shortlist of the key advantages of using a headless CMS software: you get to engage your customers with personalized content across an entire network of digital channels, at different stages in their journey you can deliver richer digital experience, tailored to each channel you gain platform independence you're free to choose your technology of choice you benefit from cross-platform support you get to manage your content from a central location and distribute it to multiple platforms/IoT-connected devices, in a universal format you're free to manage all your platforms from one interface your development team gets to choose the development framework of their choice, integrate new technologies and, overall… innovate you're free to redesign as often as you need to, without the dread of re-implementing your entire CMS from the ground up     4. … And When Should You Use It? 5 Best Use Cases  How do you know for sure that you need to adopt this approach? You know it because your scenario describes one of the following use cases for headless CMS: you're building a site using a technology you're familiar with you're building a website with a static site generator you're building a JS-based website or web app you're building a native mobile app you're building an e-commerce site and you know that the commerce platform you're using won't… cut the mustard as a CMS; or you need to enrich product info in your online store 5. What Are the Best Headless CMS in 2020? Top 10 "Which CMS should I use?" you wonder. "The one that meets most of your requirements…" So, you should start by pinning them down. What features are you looking for in a CMS? Maybe you need a system that should: be straightforward and easy to use for the marketers/non-technical people in your team be built on… Node be highly customizable and editable for your content team to be able to change overlay text, logo, background video/image be simple to set up integrate easily with Gatsby support multi-site setups not be tied up to (just) one specific database provide ease of content entry and rich-text support provide a granular permission system provide native support for content types What are the features that your project couldn't live without? Now, with that list of "mandatory" features at hand, just drill down through your top headless CMS options in 2020. Here they are: 5.1. Storyblok A purely headless CMS that ships with a visual editor, as well. Why would you go for Storyblok? What makes it one of the best headless CMS in 2020? it provides the experience of a page builder for all those non-technical users in your team: editors get to manage content via a more user-friendly interface it grants your developers easy access to the APIs they need 5.2. Prismic Its major selling point? It allows you to choose your own language, framework, technology… And these are the 3 good reasons to go with Prismic as your headless CMS: it allows you to model your content schema and to add your content you're free to choose whatever framework that meets your feature needs: React, Vue, Next, Nuxt, Node, Gatsby… you're free to choose either GraphQL or RESTful API to query content 5.3. Drupal 8 Headless CMS   Another great option is to exploit Drupal's headless capabilities and pair them with the JavaScript framework of your choice. Here are some of the best reasons why you'd use a Drupal 8 API-first architecture: Drupal's a mature and enterprise-level headless solution backed by a wide community, used by more than 1 million sites globally; you get to tap into its massive module collection and even create new custom ones to extend your website's functionality its JSON:API follows the JSON:API specification; developers in your team can start using the API even if they're not experts in working with Drupal you get to load your GraphQl schemas straight from your Drupal content repository; there's a specialized module for this: the GraphQL module you get to use all of  Drupal's famed features (granular access to content, processes, workflows, modules, etc.) right away; you get them out-of-the-box since the REST API is… rooted deep into Drupal 5.4. Strapi, One of the Best headless CMS for Gatsby. It's an open-source Node.js headless CMS, a "host it yourself" one, that allows you to build Node.js apps in… minutes. Why would you use it? because it generates available RESTful API or uses GraphQL shortly after installation, making data available via customizable API because it allows your developers to invest all their resources in writing reusable app logic (instead of having to use some of that time to build an infrastructure) because it's fully JavaScript because it supports plugins that extend the platform's functionality because it's open-source: you'll find the entire codebase on GitHub  5.5. Contentful  Looking for a platform-agnostic solution? A… content delivery network that would enable your development team to manage and distribute (and reuse) content to multiple channels? Then this is the API-driven headless CMS you're looking for. Here are 6 other reasons why you'd want to put Contentful on your shortlist: consistent APIs easy to set up you're free to create your own models easy to use: ships with a robust, non-technical, user-friendly UI you get to add custom plugins quick and easy you get to set your own schemas to get displayed the way you want them to, across different apps Good to know! There's even a Shopify extension available. What it does is connect your online store to your content, stored in Contentful. And if you'll need help with building, fine-tuning, and integrating your content hub, we're ready to tweak Contentful to your needs.  END of Part 1! Stay tuned, for there are 5 more candidates for the title of "the best headless CMS in 2020" waiting in line.  Image by Couleur from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 25'2020
Magento vs Shopify 2020: Which Platform Should You Use for Your eCommerce Store? And Why?
A bit stuck? Are you looking to roll out your online store, but… you’re struggling with a Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma? Which solution works best for the size and the type of your eCommerce business? Which one covers most of your feature needs? In today’s post you’ll get your answers to the following questions: How are they different? Why would you choose Shopify over Magento? What are its strongest selling points? What are the cons of Shopify? What are the pros and cons of Magento vs Shopify? Which eCommerce platform works best for your type of business? 1. What Are the Major Differences Between Magento and Shopify? The main reason why you’re torn between Magento and Shopify is that: You don’t have a clear picture of the essential differences between them. So, let me expose them to you: 1.1. Magento is an eCommerce solution for enterprise-level online stores. It’s robust and flexible enough to power fully customized eCommerce websites, built from scratch — that you can further expand to fit your growth plan — by teams of Magento developers. 1.2. Shopify, on the other hand, is self-managed.  You don’t need any specialized skills — or server-side techs — to set up a Shopify store.  A front-end developer and a designer, at most, will do. “How easy is it to use Shopify?” Shopify is best-known for being beginner-friendly.  In short, the “Magento vs Shopify” dilemma comes down to: Flexibility and customization vs Ease of use. Which one's more important to you? 2. Magento vs Shopify 2020: Why Would You Choose Shopify? What makes Shopify a candidate for the title of “the best solution for creating an eCommerce website in 2020"? Here’s why Shopify could be the better choice for your online store: you have no (or limited) coding skills the idea of having a huge app marketplace at your disposal to browse through sounds tempting to you you need to get your e-Store up and running… now: the drag-and-drop website builder allows you to set up a new store in… minutes it’s an end-to-end eCommerce solution that you’re looking for, one that enables you to roll out and manage your online store with no technical experience it’s easier to use: its interface is famous for being particularly user-friendly you run a small or medium-sized eCommerce business page loading time is critical for you: Shopify’s just… fast Overall, it’s much less of a headache than Magento and usually the go-to option for small eCommerce business owners, with no web development experience, who need to get their websites rolled out fast. 3. What Are the Cons of Shopify? What could make you hesitate to choose Shopify for your eCommerce website? For there are, indeed, some limitations to consider before going for this particular platform:   You’d be trading some of the control over your online store for… ease of use and the convenience of setting up your eStore quick and easy, with no technical expertise   You do get a huge collection of plugins to choose from but… they all come with a price tag on; one that you’ll need to consider when planning out your budget   You won’t be able to customize every single aspect of your website. By comparison, Magento puts no limitation on the configurations that you can make to your site   Shopify provides you with weaker SEO features   It charges a transaction fee per… sale   4. Why Would You Choose Magento over Shopify? When dealing with a Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma, what could make you opt for Magento? Lots of reasons... Here are the strongest ones:   It enables you (or your team of Magento developers in Toronto) to customize everything about your eCommerce website, from theme to checkout process, to main menu, to email template, to...   You get to build custom functionality for your website, that’s not available on the market   You have lots of extensions available to choose from — Magento being open-sourced — and to customize your online store   You benefit from its strong SEO capabilities   You get to tap into its multi-store functionality: Magento enables you to manage all your online stores from one central dashboard   “In fact, according to eCommerce Platforms research Magento SEO scores 95 out of 100, and that is great result!” (source: Cart2Cart ) In short, you’d want to go with Magento because it enables you to build pretty much anything that you might need for your eCommerce website. 5. What About the Cons of Using Magento? For you need to be aware of the disadvantages of using this eCommerce solution, as well, before you make any decision. Now, here are the most… discouraging ones:   Building a fully customized website in Magento takes time and requires web development experience and Magento expertise; you can’t get away without a team of back-end Magento developers to handle the whole process and all the customization wok   You do have a large and thriving community to rely on, but no 24/7 dedicated support (like you have with Shopify)   You’ll need to optimize your Magento website on a regular basis to make sure it keeps performing at its best   You’ll need to take into account the cost of all the extensions that you might want to add, of the web hosting service, and the Magento expertise needed   6. Magento 2 vs Shopify vs... Shopify Plus: Which One’s the Best Fit? Considering that, starting June 2020, Magento 1.0 is no longer supported, your Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma turns into: “Magento 2 vs Shopify”. What new features does Magento 2 bring to the debate? simplified navigation (even) better customization capabilities better performance a more admin-friendly panel drag-and-drop layout editing improved checkout  “And what about Shopify Plus?” you might then ask yourself. Here are some of the enhancements that Shopify Plus ships with, so you can see for yourself whether it’s the best fit for what you’re looking for:   It gives you greater control over your online store: you gain more customization freedom   It’s robust enough to handle more than 10,000 transactions per minute, which makes it a viable alternative to Magento 2 for enterprise-level eCommerce businesses   You’re free to edit your checkout page (a feature that’s not available in Shopify)   You get your own launch manager: basically, a dedicated Shopify Plus team will handle everything for you, from implementing the custom Shopify theme that you need to code writing   7. Which Commerce Platform Works Better for Your Type of eCommerce Business? Now that you have a clear(er) picture of the pros and cons of Magento vs Shopify, how do you know which one’s the best fit for you? For your business goals and size? It’s simple: just pick the answer(s) that best fits your scenario from the following ones: You’ll want to use Magento if: you have a large product catalog your customization  needs are… above the average (i.e. complex product configurations): you want a fully customized online store built from the ground up you need a commerce platform robust enough to support your entire network of vendor/supplier fulfillment channels you have qualified Magento developers in your team (or the budget to hire some professionals, who know what they’re doing) You’ll want to use Shopify over Magento in 2020 if: it’s a small to medium product catalog that you need to set up being able to integrate/cross-sell on multiple platforms is a crucial feature for you you need to get your storefront online as quickly as possible Does this head-to-head help you with your Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma?  No matter which one’s the “winner”, the next question stays the same: “How do I get my Shopify/ Magento website built and suited to my needs?" Just drop us a line and we’ll have either our Shopify or our Magento expert team assigned to your eCommerce project! Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 18'2020
5 tips to pass your Acquia Site Studio (Cohesion) Certification Exam
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to take the Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) Certification exam. In this post we are going to discuss why I took this exam and more importantly, how I passed it and became an Acquia Certified Site Studio Site Builder. Optasy and its commitment to quality through knowledge You already know that quality is part of the corporate culture of Optasy. For us quality is a key factor to protect our clients' investments and guarantee them a high ROI. But having a good QA department is not enough. Actually, it's often too late when the QA team detects an issue. At Optasy we prefer to ensure quality at the early stages of our projects, analyzing deeply the needs of our clients and transform them into effective digital experiences but we also know that the quality of the code we produce comes from the experience and the skills of our developers. That's why Optasy has an internal 'skill knowledge acquisition program' to help its employees (optasians) to acquire new skills or improve them. This program gives to each optasian one day off per month (paid by the company) to study a particular field. As a way to ensure knowledge acquisition and validation, optasians also receive paid leave to study and give their Acquia certification exams. This includes the exam cost too, that’s why many of the optasian developers are actually Acquia Certified developers or Acquia Certified site builders All things considered, it was a pretty easy choice for me to take the exam, not only do I get to improve my skills, but I get paid for it too! What are the Acquia certification programs? Acquia is a preferred Optasy partner that delivers a cloud-based digital experience platform built on Drupal that enables organizations to build experiences that scale. Acquia is committed to facilitating certification programs allowing developers to validate their Drupal skills year after year. Acquia certification exams are administered at Kryterion Testing Centers in more than 750 locations across the globe. Exams are also available as online-proctored tests and are often offered at DrupalCons across the world. What is Acquia Site Studio? Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) is a low-code solution for building and editing Drupal sites. As an Acquia partner, our team got the chance to become an early adopter of the technology.  Acquia Site Studio is a sort of layout builder on steroids without writing any line of code. Not only can you build layouts or templates, but also you can build whole websites from the headers to the footers, and everything in between, like components and widgets, just by using the interface. No code required! It's a kind of atomic design system (like Pattern Lab) where you can create and preview CSS style guides, components, template layouts, page layouts or view layout from a visual user interface with simple “drag and drop”. And all of this within your Drupal site! To be fair, Acquia Site Studio is an amazing tool allowing designers and marketers to create and modify any layout component without calling the development team. If you’re a designer with no coding knowledge you’ll be able to create totally unique layouts based on your designs using intuitive drag and drop layout builder. If you're an editor, you may choose the layout you want to use and add all the pre-designed components you wish. Want to add a slider or a 'Related Articles' block? You drag and drop it in your layout! 5 tips to successfully pass your Acquia Certified Site Studio exam As other Acquia Certification exams, the Certified Site Studio exam requires both experience and knowledge. Though the test is not difficult, it’s not something you want to run into unprepared. From my experience, the questions ranged from a very low to medium range of difficulty, there were barely any difficult questions. This exam validates your ability to: Understand the features and functionality provided by Site Studio Install and configure Site studio environment on new or existing websites. Build a website using Site Studio style builder, components and website structure design elements. The official description of this exam can be found on Acquia's certification overview page. But in short: The tests are all multiple choice. They don't require that you actually configure a Drupal site or write any code. They are available in person at a testing center, or at home by installing the exam software on your computer. The price was $155 (In my case, Optasy paid for the test) Get a good understanding of Drupal Layout Builder As I mentioned earlier, Acquia Site Studio is a Layout Builder on steroids and many concepts are the same, so having some experience with this Drupal module will help you a lot, like the inline editing tools or the concept of drawing element into the layout. This is not mandatory, but I felt really comfortable with Site Studio having this previous experience. Read carefully the contents of the exam On Acquia's certification overview page you'll find the blueprint of the exam like the following: But below it, you'll find the content itself. Read it carefully and repeatedly. This should be your guideline during your study. This will help you focus on what really matters but also to recap and structure your notes. Read and study the documentation While there are really good videos on the Acquia Academy site about Site Studio, watching all of them won't be enough. If you don't have prior experience with Site Studio, it's a good starting point. But it definitively won't give all the knowledge you need to pass the exam. Reading the documentation should sound obvious, but you'll really need to read and study all the documentation in depth. Don't leave anything behind cause the exam covers all the aspects of Site Studio, from the basics to more advanced topics. This will also give you the right vocabulary to understand the questions of the exam, since sometimes they can try to trick you changing just one word. So the technical vocabulary has an important role, and that's where the documentation comes into play. Write down some notes after reading each section. This will help you a lot during the recap! Train on the Acquia Site Studio demo environment You can request an online demo environment for free at the bottom of this page The main benefit is that you won't need an API key or an Agency key, so you can test Site Studio for free, the environment acts just like a normal Drupal website. and the site will be all yours to experiment on. This site will be your friend during your study, you should test everything you learned in the documentation here. Do it several times and try different cases. The night before the exam, after reading back your notes, try to build a site from scratch in this environment to recap all the main concepts. This is key! Don't forget the 'Miscellaneous concepts and features' part These three concepts are not placed in one section, they are dispersed in the documentation. Study and practice all of them because you'll have a question about each one. They are only three, it doesn’t sound like a lot but they are worth 15% of the exam! That is a quick and easy win! A bonus tip What really worked for me was to read a section, practice the concepts of this section in the demo environment, read again the same section and take some notes. The day after, read all the notes of the previous day, do the same 7 days later, reading back your notes and practicing again on the demo site. That way, 80% of what you studied will stay forever in your memory. Conclusions Acquia Certification Site Studio Site Builder can be a good way to validate your skills and knowledge There are barely any difficult questions Study all the documentation because the exam is based on it, but also because the exam will cover all of it. Practice a lot, recap a lot. ... Read more
Karim Boudjema / Aug 27'2020
Why Cloud-Native Apps? How Exactly Can Cloud Native Applications Benefit Your Business?
For it all comes down to this: what's the return that you'd get from switching to this new way of developing applications? Why cloud-native apps? How does migrating from cloud-hosted to cloud native applications translate into clear benefits for you? For your own business? We've listed them, then... shortlisted them to the 6 biggest benefits that you can expect from developing cloud native apps. Or, if you wish, the top 6 reasons why you'll want to use a cloud-native architecture from now on. But First: What Are Cloud Native Applications More Precisely? They're collections of independent, loosely coupled microservices, each one performing a single service or business function. Unlike the traditional "monolithic" app architecture, where you have a single... block. So that whenever you needed to apply even a small change, you had to interrupt the entire app. And it's precisely this intrinsic constraint of the monolithic approach — translating into limited scalability and flexibility — that has made the cloud-native model so "tempting": it allows you to develop and deploy each microservice independently so, whenever you need to apply changes, you're no longer constrained to wait first for all the components to get updated you can incorporate the new features (in many cases, suggested by users themselves) and deliver the app to your audience right away #1: You Get to Incorporate User Feedback into Your App in... Real-Time Why cloud-native apps? Due to their high availability: You get to make real-time changes to your applications... on the fly. ... to respond to users' expectations of specific new features and functionalities faster than with the traditional app development model. "Continuous improvement" is the key phrase here:   You're free to add and roll back new features and enhance its performance... constantly. On the go. #2: You Benefit from a Higher Developer Productivity And this is another one of the key cloud native application benefits. The cloud-native architecture: speeds up the development process helps your team save time, that they'd otherwise need to spend trying to solve various infrastructure issues and handling critical business requirements instead enables easy remote access to their system, irrespective of their location #3: Why Cloud-Native Apps? Because You Can Build, Update, and Deliver them Faster The cloud-native approach enables you to scale your resources and comply with user demand way faster than the monolithic approach: You get to bring new features online — requested by your users — more quickly. To roll out changes and start marketing your app much faster. In short, you get to be more responsive to user demand and more relevant with the updates you make to your app in… real time. #4: You Save Time and Money From all the cloud native applications advantages, cost-savings must be the most tangible one. And it’s pretty obvious if you come to think of it: Since the cloud-native approach to developing applications allows you to build and release them much faster, you’re practically left with more time. More time to focus on your other revenue-generating tasks. #5: You Can Make or Roll Back Small Changes Without "Freezing" the Entire App Why cloud native applications? Because you can minimize downtime when you need to update your app. #6: You Get to Run Your App on Multiple Platforms Cloud native applications run on both public and private platforms without you being forced to make any major changes. For “flexibility” (along with “efficiency” and “high availability”) is another word for cloud-native. So, Why Cloud-Native Apps? It’s simple: You get to innovate faster and to react to users’ changing needs and trends... faster. Do you already have an app idea and you just need the right team to, ask the right questions, grasp your vision, and… make it happen? Just drop us a line, let’s hear all about it and let's... build it! Image by Ashish Bogawat from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Aug 15'2020