Adrian Ababei / Jun 29'2017
“Viva la revolution!” Since we keep reading/hearing how AI revolutionizes the way people shop online, the way retailers leverage their user data to personalize the shopping experiences they provide, how AI revolutionizes the entire ecommerce space. So, how are you harnessing the superpower of AI on your ecommerce site? Your set of options includes: chatbots virtual personal shoppers ultra-personalized shopping experiences AI-based search queries machine learning-powered search results … and the list is an ever-growing one! Now you're probably disoriented: how do you know which one(s) of these revolutionizing forms of AI fits your own company's ecommerce strategy? Well, let us put each one of them into the spotlight and hopefully help you identify the forms of AI in ecommerce that best suit your goals: 1. AI Virtual Shopping Assistant The “Relax and enjoy your shopping experience!” turns into: “Relax, your virtual assistant will do the shopping for you, purchasing precisely the item(s) you need at the best possible price(s)”. In short, as you implement this form of AI on your ecommerce site, you're actually leveraging both the valuable user data that you will have collected and the set ups that your customers will make (for instance a certain day of the week/month when he prefers his virtual assistant to “go shopping” for him/her). Let's fancy this possible virtual shopping assistant-powered scenario: “you already have a load of priceless data on a customer's preferences and an enabled “sales” alert option. By leveraging this valuable information his online personal shopper can easily purchase that particular product/service precisely the day when the price drops down”. See the 2 main differences? The customer: doesn't have to type in a whole string of relevant keywords in the search box on your site, looking for the product he'd like to buy (for his virtual assistant already knows what items he'd like to purchase) won't be constantly notified (and eventually annoyed) whenever prices drop. The shopping experience without the time-consuming hassle! Moreover: the AI virtual shopping assistant can curate the products/services your customers would want to purchase, depending on their browsing and shopping histories! So, we're talking about proactively assisting your customers, ensuring future conversion, too! 2. Machine Learning for More Relevant Search Results Relevancy is key when it comes to search results, wouldn't you agree? But what if you could reach “the utmost relevancy” in the search options that you deliver to your online customers? You can reach it: by leveraging the machine learning technology on your Drupal site! Instead of relying on the conventional keyword matching technique, you'd better harness the power of machine learning AI and deliver the perfectly adequate search results to your potential customers! 3. A New Type of Search Query: AI Processing Natural Language Searching for products/services on a given ecommerce website is getting “out-of-fashion”! AI technology steps on the stage and steals the spotlight as it's equipped with natural language processing capabilites. Capabilities that the traditional way of searching for items on a given online store can't possibly compete with! Therefore, instead of typing several relevant keywords, which may or may not display the relevant search options, AI can “interpret” customers' natural language. It can recognize and decipher their natural expressions and thus display only the most relevant search results. on one hand we have a series of keywords that get, successfully or not, matched with their corresponding products/services on the other hand with have search results determined by the process of “deciphering” natural expressions See the difference? 4. Voice Search: Implement This Key Form of AI on Your Ecommerce Site AI-powered voice search has ceased to be a striking novelty for some time now. It slowly and surely turns into a “must-have” technology for every ecommerce site/app! Are you ready to leverage this form of AI on your ecommerce site, too? It's the epitome of convenience: users can just utter the items they want to visualize and eventually purchase and the AI technology implemented on your website does all the rest. Yet it's much more than “utmost convenience”: it's a way of deep-personalizing your customers' overall shopping experiences on your ecommerce website! By using voice-triggered searches you'll practically tailor, to their own needs, the search options that you'll display. The “traditional” way of personalizing shopping experiences (to the search terms that users enter in the search box on your site) can't possibly rival with this AI-powered type of personalization, don't you agree? 5. Evolving Content And we do mean “in real time”! A whole new dimension for the concept of in-depth personalized content going hand in hand with a perfectly tailored shopping experience. In other words: what this AI technology does is adjust the content on your ecommerce website LIVE, as the customers navigate through! The data collecting, followed by the content tailoring is no longer a viable tactic in today's ecommerce landscape. Content evolving in real-time is the new level of personalized customer experiences! And not only that it helps you craft an “ultra” personalized online shopping experience, with a high level of interactivity, but you're actually taking the burden of A/B and layout testing off your team's shoulders. As you leverage this AI technology, based on evolutionary algorithms, you'll be actually improving your online shopper's experience “on the spot”! And the list can easily go on and on! Visual search would have to be the next AI technology on our list, followed closely by... Yet, since it's a list that gets constantly enriched, we shall end it here. Do tell us now: have you already leveraged any of these forms of AI on your ecommerce site?
Adrian Ababei / Jun 28'2017
Lazy loading (images, in this case) leads to energy preserving, which leads to a significantly improved site performance! Pretty ironic, isn't it? Well, this is precisely the logic on which the Image Lazyloader module in Drupal has been developed! Saving your website's energy goes hand in hand with increasing its page loading times. It goes hand in hand with “sparing” HTTP round-trips and taking some heavy load off the browser's “shoulders”, which otherwise would be “pressured” to relentlessly load thousands of images, even before they would be visible in his/her window browser. Basically what this module does is both unexpectedly simple and impressively smart : it loads images on your Drupal site only when they're in visitors' viewports. In other words: when there's no one opening them up in his/her browser, why bother loading an entire “cargo” of images? Why put an unnecessary pressure onto your site and the browser? And now let us detail to you this “energy-saving” tool that Drupal puts at your disposal and which we encourage you to leverage in the name of a... faster loading website: The Image Lazyloader Module: How Does It Work Exactly? What Makes it a Speed Booster? The whole “mechanism” behind this Drupal module is surprisingly simple, if we come to think of it: it loads images (lots and lots of them) only when they're displayed in a site visitor's browser window. Not before! And this is a “dream come true” especially for web designers, who're constantly dealing with the challenge of optimizing heavy loads of images. As you can surely guess it yourself, the module's an incredibly useful tool precisely for those Drupal website carrying heavy “cargos” of images. For no matter how many they might, how heavy the load is, the Image Lazyloader module's capable to... lazy load them all and therefore to keep your site's performance at optimum parameters. How Do You Use It? How Do You “Exploit” Its Full Potential on Your Drupal Site? Now allow us to give you a few tips and tricks or, better said, a step-by-step guide on how to fully leverage this module on your Drupal site: Step 1: you download (and install, obviously) the module itself along with the Libraries module in the sites/all/modules/contrib; the latter is, in fact, a dependency for 2.x branch Step 2: next you download your echo library and place it in sites/all/libraries Step 3: it's time to enable your Image Lazyloader module now Step 4: don't forget to clear your cache Essentially all these preliminary setups will actually grant you the much-needed freedom to quickly enable and to disable your Lazyloading module any time you want to. Which turns it into such a powerful convenience when you just need to run some tests on your website, for instance. And speaking of “empowerment”, there's an entire array of options to choose from and setups to enable, depending on your site's needs and on your purposes: you have the loader icon letting you know if the images are not (yet) fully loaded you get to set the distance from the viewable screen part and to go for a placeholder image of your choice you're even enabled to select those particular web pages on your Drupal site where there's no need for an image lazy loading process to be performed And voila! These are the answers to your “why” and “how" to use the Image Lazyloader module! Questions deriving, of course, from the main one: “how can I boost my Drupal site's performance?” Feel free to test its image optimization power and to determine how much faster your web pages will then load.
Adrian Ababei / Jun 27'2017
Adrian Ababei / Jun 26'2017
Adrian Ababei / Jun 23'2017
It's data that shapes today's digital landscape! This is no news for any player in the online arena! From big data to small data, from data-backed-up decisions to data-fueled digital strategies and data-driven web design, the online revolves around... DATA. And yet, not just around powerful “raw” data, but around perfectly structured, easy to parse through data. And in this respect, the Google Data Highlighter makes such an easy to use webmaster tool for setting up precisely these ideal data structures that Google can easily “crawl” through in order to better “assimilate” websites' particularities. It's been designed with easiness of use, low budgets, and close to zero coding expertise in mind! So, it's meant to empower any webmaster/admin to get his/her Drupal site a big push up the search engine page results. It's meant to help site admins grow independent of the technical team, of time and budget constraints in their endeavor to put their Drupal sites into Google's spotlights! Now, let's find out: Why you should be using Google data highlighter tool Which are the key advantages of this SEO webmaster tool How to use it for implementing structured data on your Drupal site Which are the imminent drawbacks that you should be aware of in order to make an informed decision when you add this tool to your whole SEO “arsenal”: 1. Why Do You Need Well Structured Data on Your Web Pages After All? “Because Google doesn't have, not just yet, information of critical importance about your site and you should deliver it to the search engine." Or better said: you should enhance its access to this information! And this is some of the crucial data that you should make as easy to access and “interpret” as possible: your target audience the frequency of web page updates on your Drupal site how accurate your website is And it's by tagging the main fields on your site, so via so-called “microdata”, that you can easily deliver this key information about your site and in an easy to “digest” format, too. We're talking here about articles, event names, software applications, products and so many other types of information that you can turn into microdata and “serve on a silver plate” to Google itself! So that Google gets to know your site and gains an in-depth understating of its content, goals, and target audience. Of all its other key particularities. And the better it gets to know your website, the higher are its chances to increase its rankings in SERPs. In other words: don't wait for your website to “be discovered”, but strive to enhance and to speed up its discovery! This is precisely what this tool here, supporting a whole variety of structured data, does! 2. The Key Benefits That You'll Reap From Using Google Data Highlighter Now let's point out and pin up all the key advantages for leveraging this tool; advantages that we've just more or less vaguely mentioned already: It's easy to use! Basically it enables you to tag fields on your Drupal site via simple mouse point and clicks. Just select your products, articles, events or/and any other types of data on your website that you'd like to mark up and then select from the drop-down menu their corresponding types ( article, title, event, etc.). Unbelievably user friendly! It's free! A benefit you just can't afford to ignore when you have a limited budget. It's a money-saving tool whose whole potential you get to “exploit” as we speak (so, a time-saving tool, as well). Money and time: you're practically saving your most valuable resources! No coding experience required! And this makes Google data highlighter such a handy tool for everyone, the non-technical site owners/administrators here included! Not to mention (although we already have) that it's ideally user friendly, too: mouse select, right-click and tag your data in the blink of an eye! 3. How Do You Use Google Data Highlighter? How Do You Highlight a Web Page? Now that we've tackled the “whys” and the “which”, let's tackle the “how”, as well! Let us try a step-by-step guide on how to use this tool for marking up structured data on your Drupal site: 1. First things first: you log into your webmaster account (the one where your site is added as a property, of course) 2. Next click on the property whose pages you want to “Google highlight” 3. Access Search Appearance –> Data Highlighter (from the drop-down menu) 4. Next click on “Start Highlighting”; it will open up a dialogue including queries regarding the type of information displayed on that specific web page, an option for auto-selecting other similar pages, too (so that you don't have to go through this process over and over again for pages with similar formats), queries about the web page value, too 5. Then enter all the relevant info 6. Once you've entered the URL of your target web page and selected its type, as well, feel free to click on “Tag this page and other like this”; this way you'll be tagging pages with similar layouts and streamlining this process at the website's level 7. Once you've clicked on the “OK” button, a horizontal bar, divided into 4 tabs/sections, will pop up. These are (as you shall see): Tag First Page Create Page Set Tag More Examples Review and Publish 8. The “Tag First Page” is the preliminary (and the key one) stage where you actually select pieces of content on your target web page and with a simple right-click on your mouse (which will unfold a drop-down menu) you get to select the category corresponding to each piece of content (Article, Image, Category, Author, Data Published). Keep doing this till you've tagged each micro-data on your web page! 9. Once you click the “Done” button you'll get to the next stage listed in your horizontal top bar: “Create Page Set”. It's now that you get to select those pages having similar layouts for streamlining the whole tagging process. As you will see, you're also provided with an option that automatically selects all the similar pages for you. Feel free to use it or to ignore it and choose to create your own custom page set instead. 10. Once you've clicked on the “Create Page Set”, you'll automatically get to the next step: “Tag More Examples”. It's on this page that you get to review your tagged web pages and make any needed fixes. 11. Click “Next” and check the web page tagging one by one, next click on “Review and Publish” the pages. And this is how you highlight and tag your Drupal site's web pages using the Google Data Highlighter tool! 4. “Are There Any Drawbacks That I Should Be Aware of?” Yes, there are a couple of disadvantages, as well! And it's only fair that you take them into account so that you can ponder both the pros and the cons of using this tool for structuring the data on your website's pages: Probably the most discouraging of them all is that your entire data highlighter breaks down as soon as you apply a small change to your site's template or code. And then... well... you need to set it up, once again. The data highlighter that you will have put together is relevant for Google only! No other search engine (Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.) will be using your structured data markup. It might be quick and easy for you to nicely structure your data, yet it will take Google a little more time to assimilate your data pattern and then to present your structured data in a more attractive way. So, on one hand, you save time putting together your data highlighter, but on the other hand you “lose” some of that time as you wait for Google to... notice it and “fructify” it. You will have already marked up structured data on multiple web pages on your site by the time Google has fully understood them! Patience is a virtue, so they say! As a closing piece of advice: a team of developers is always the best solution when it comes to optimizing your Drupal site. Yet, for those instances when you need to rely on a limited budget and on even lower resources of time, there's Google Data Highlighter!
Adrian Ababei / Jun 19'2017
Let's start by imagining the “bad” scenario! The one where you don't implement modular content components in the creation/editing process on your website! It will only lead to a poor editorial experience, where editors/content authors: depend on your technical team for every little tweak that they need to apply to content on your Drupal site; which will obviously slow down the processes of updating content and sending it to your various distribution partners are forced to learn HTML and thus to focus less on creating and polishing content and rather on acquiring some sort of technical “expertise” Granting your editorial team (even more) flexibility will benefit: you, as an organization, since they'll be empowered to run all the necessary updates, in due time, with great ease your site builders and Drupal developers who will then win more time to focus on their own tasks (no one wants to get interrupted from his/her work each time there's content to be added or to be edited on the website). So, it's a sort of win-win-win type of situation ( where you, as an organization, your content authors, and your team of developers gets to win)! And now let's detail the concept of “flexible modular content components”, and point out why they shape the future of content creation: 1. How Should The Content Creation Process “of The Future” Be Like? First of all, it should definitely go beyond: the "box body" concept the content management framework that your Drupal development team can program to do anything by using just the proper custom site-building techniques The future of content creation lies in a redefinition of content in CMS and in putting the spotlight on the creation experience itself! It's that improved creation experience that will easily lead to a unique, easy to personalize user experience. And there's more: content of the future should be a “cluster” of modular content components of rich media creating and editing content should be a simple, few-steps process with no technical “burden” involved content of the future should be exchangeable across platforms and to support multiple forms of media content of the future should easily adjust to the requirements of a multi-channel publishing context Needless to add that a weakened creation experience, where the content writer/editor/publisher is fully dependent on the technical team, will only lead to slow site updates. And you definitely don't want to fall behind with your updates! 2. The Content Creation Process of the Present Now, before we highlight for you the benefits that you can reap from adopting a structured modular content on your Drupal site, let's take a look at the “current” issues that modular content components come to solve: the “one and only WYSIWYG” standard content writers aren't granted as much “independence” as they should in order to create/edit content without any technical support from the development team leaving content creators no option but to put together layouts within the WYSIWYG editor and to learn HTML 3. But What Is Modular Content After All? Making your content modular means switching from the practice where you edit a page, on your site, as a whole, to that where it gets automatically generated from other content items. For instance, an example of “content item” could be the “recipes” one on a farmers market website. The key benefit of adopting modular content is that you're granted consistency across the content on your site and that the entire editing process gets automated. For instance, once a piece of vendor information gets changed, all the pieces of content on your website that display that particular information gets instantly updated. Step into the future of automated content updating and leave behind the irksome manual updating process! Moreover, you get to leverage the power of modular content for putting together page sections and composite web pages, too! 4. What About Modular Content Components? What Are They? You could see them as “tools” empowering your content creation and editing team to: easily add new sections without the help of the technical department in your organization send their pieces of content to several distribution channels (sending them, each, specifically those content formats that meet their requirements). And all this in just one single step! 5. “Should I Be Integrating Modular Content Components in My Content Creation Process, too?” It depends! It depends on whether it's crucial for the whole workflow within your team that your content editors should be able to update content on the fly and to send it to your network of distribution partners “in the blink of an eye”. If it's the case, then you should definitely leverage the modular content components' functionality on your Drupal site, too! This way, you'll be empowering your editorial team with a simple, yet highly effective drag-and-top tool that they can use for adding new content components quick and easy. The next step is to send it to your content distribution partners, whether it's Facebook, AOL, or Apple News, or none of these three. 6. Key Modular Content Functionalities Worth Your Attention 5.1. Consistency Across Your Website And you can't underestimate the advantage of keeping a consistent branding throughout your Drupal site! This is precisely what you can achieve using modular content components: you'll eliminate those situations where your team uses inconsistent layouts when publishing content, taken from legacy website designs re-branding your website will turn into a streamlined process with a solid and scalable architecture as its foundation; it will be a lot easier to “implement” the new look and feel across your website and to achieve a consistent branding the current situations where content authors just drop “slices” of HTML into the WYSIWYG editor will become “history” on your new future platform, a highly maintainable and nicely structured one; a modular content components-powered one! 5.2. Easily Adjustable Content According to Your Distribution Partners' Restrictions It will be far easier for your content editing team to tailor it to their specific restrictions! Since with modular content components they get to edit and update content with such ease! Whether it's: links that they need to remove in order to comply with your distribution channels' requirements certain formats that they should stick to any other special requests that they need to meet while creating or editing their articles … with Modular Content components integrated into their article creation process, it all gets much more streamlined! 5.3. Marketing Power And you surely can't afford to underestimate digital marketing-oriented tools that help you build targeted and ideally creative advertising campaigns: you have the Double Click for Publishers module you have flexible ad tags that you get to use for implementing your campaigns you have built-in identifiers helping you achieve your “smart targeting” goals through your campaigns Need we add any more reasons that modular content components make the future of content creation? Are you ready to embrace the future?
Adrian Ababei / Jun 15'2017
If content is king, then content personalization sure is queen! Which leads us to content globalization, an ever increasing demand that many organizations strive to adapt their marketing technology stack to. Yet manually getting heavy loads of content translated not just in one, but in several languages, and then sending it out precisely to their target audiences, at high speed and ideally scaled, is almost a “mission impossible”. And this is the particular context that the Cloudwords for Drupal 8 was launched in! It's the answer to organizations' challenge of dealing with users' expectations for personalized experiences while striving to spare their valuable resources of time, as well! For users do expect to be “served” promptly, you can't compromise on quality (by delivering them poorly translated content) and you surely can't waste their time (delivering them the translated version of the content on your website weeks or months later). And this complex workflow involving: large teams of content authors loads of content being constantly moved in and out of the Drupal website(s) a whole network of translation vendors to send it over to and to receive it from ... has its limitations! Therefore, integrating Cloudwords with Drupal 8 comes to turn all this from a cumbersome, time-consuming process into a fully automated workflow! Now let's get into more details about the “happy marriage” of these two innovative web technologies, Clowdwords and Drupal 8: Why Drupal? Why Drupal 8? What Does This CMS Bring To The Table? As you probably already know, it's been a while since we've got to use the Cloudwords for Drupal module. Why was Drupal “chosen” for the happy union? It's pretty logical: back then it was and still is large organizations' top favorite content management system! The one “equipped” with all the capabilities (flexibility, scalability, extensibility and all the other crucial “ity”-s) that are crucial for content-packed websites! So, since now we have Cloudwords for Drupal 8, a more than valid question would be: “But Why Drupal 8 in particular?” “Because it's been built with content globalization in mind! It provides companies with multilingual support right in its core!” What is Cloudwords? What Does It Bring to the Table? Simply put: Cloudwords is a software that automates the entire global content localization process! Basically what it does is eliminate all those resources-consuming tasks, that are now being carried out manually by “armies” of teams, and deliver a highly enhanced visibility into the projects' statuses. A “dream come true” for all the digital marketing teams involved in the production and the delivery of personalized content within large organizations. Like yours! Cloudwords's key role in this integration with Drupal 8 is precisely this one: turning your Drupal website's localization into a streamlined, automated workflow! Far easier to monitor and far easier to handle! Workflow automation + Unmatched project management capabilities The Challenge More often than not enterprise organizations need their websites' content translated in several languages (not just one or two) and also have not just one multilingual site to manage, but an entire “constellation” of sites. So, as you can imagine (since you're probably facing the same challenge) monitoring the entire translation process, promptly updating it whenever new content gets added to the website and adding new and new multilingual websites to the group is resources-consuming and prone to error! And this is the challenge that Cloudwords in Drupal 8 comes to help your own organization respond to! Cloudwords for Drupal 8: A Big Leap Ahead Into the Future of Content Globalization Now that we've: glided through each one of the two technologies' key capabilities relevant for this integration pointed out the “problem” that this “union” comes to solve … let's have a close look at this groundbreaking solution, shall we? First of all, what we can easily state is that it speeds up the whole website localization process. And that it protects it from human error, too, obviously! Since the entire workflow (implying the creation and the delivery of personalized content) gets automated, living up to higher and higher standards of speed, quality and scaling gets so much easier. Secondly, we're talking about efficiency in terms of quantity, as well: a high volume of web pages can now get translated at high speed, to more and more users located in different corners of the world and in more and more languages, as well. In short: accelerating translation at scale, that's what you'll achieve, within your enterprise, once you start leveraging Cloudwords for Drupal 8's capabilities! And How Exactly Does It Streamline Content Marketers' Workflow? The very first “present” that content marketers get is an increased visibility into their content translation projects! A key benefit coming to complete all the other ones deriving from the fact that all the time-consuming tasks, otherwise manually handled, are eliminated from the whole process. “Automated convenience”, that's how we could call Cloudwords for Drupal 8 from content marketers' standpoint! And there's more! The future has in store even more (more or less “surprise) “goodies” for content authors and editors: improved multilingual support (since we're talking about Drupal 8, after all) improved content authoring and editing experience CloudWords for Drupal 8: Features That You'll Want to Use Now let's outline specifically those key functionalities that you'll be using the most in your translation at scale projects: enhanced visibility into each project's status (a feature that we've just talked about) OneReview: in-content review functionality collaboration among all the teams and vendors involded, across departments, too; and good collaboration sure is a touchstone of any large scale project! How Does It Work? “You simply select the content on your Drupal site that you want to localize and let Cloudwords for Drupal 8 handle the rest!” The translation vendor that you'll choose for the job will get the content to be translated, then it will have it delivered into Cloudwords. A step-by-step website localization process that Cloudwords will streamline for you, taking an incredibly heavy burden off your team's shoulders! Moreover, it will also automatically detect and point out to you those specific translations that are outdated, as well as the new ones. And this is how Cloudwords for Drupal 8 works! Looking forward to hearing from you your very first impressions once you start integrating it into your organization's translation at scale processes!
Adrian Ababei / Jun 14'2017
Standard web pages have ceased to be the only data delivery medium available! And there's no way around it. You either respond to users' “pressing” expectations to be delivered up to the moment data, context-based data only, or, well, you'll be left behind! In this respect, Drupal-powered digital signage systems might just be the best solution to meet your customers' “new” needs and to remain relevant in your business! There's no reason to “act surprised” or be skeptical about Drupal being the right technology to go for! You have: data-rich APIs outstanding content management functionalities … so collecting data, turning it into “relevant”, contextual data, detecting a whole network of devices and sending out that data following a certain content model already looks like a plan. A solid plan for you to build your first digital signage system on! But let us dive into more details, (hopefully) answer all your legitimate questions and deliver you some of the key information you need for getting started with your digital signs project: Digital Signage Systems: A Few Examples What forms do these new types of digital experiences take? Where do we interact with digital signage in our day-to-day lives? Here are some representative examples: mall kiosks touch screens placed in various means of transportation (planes, cars, trains) voice interfaces These are all real-data delivery means! Digital signage solutions that we interact with daily (even if only visually) and which have already become indispensable to us. But Why Drupal? Why a Drupal-Powered Digital Signage System? … when you have Angular, Node, Amber React and the whole “suite” of cutting-edge, modern technologies at your disposal? The answer lies in Drupal's whole “culture” of empowering the end-user! In other words: Drupal provides an improved user experience compared to other modern technologies focusing mostly on enhancing exclusively the developer's experience instead. As simple as that! You need to build your signage system with your client (his team of content editors) in mind! It's them who will need to be able to grow independent once you pass them over the device; to be able to edit everything about it with the utmost ease. And Drupal excels at empowering the non-developer, the non-technical user! Real-Time Data Streaming = Managing Content With Great Ease And Drupal's well reputed for its capabilities as a content management system. It empowers those “in charge” with content with a whole structure of features and functionalities aimed at better organizing the editorial team, at handling and “refining” the delivered content (making it context-sensitive, as well). Now, let us point out some of its “star” capabilities: its whole “infrastructure of roles and permissions its revisioning feature its translation functionality its content types building tool How Does Drupal Handle External Data? Having data “flooding in” from “outside” providers is something to consider when you decide to develop your Drupal-powered digital signage system! This data can range from: social media to weather data to stock data to news to all kinds of crucial (for the passengers) public transportation-related data And the way Drupal 8 copes with this “flood” of data goes like this: the provider API is sent out to collect this data, then Drupal gets it processed according to the content model. Note: If content is king, then context is queen! Make sure you contextualize the data you deliver via your digital signs, that you perfectly adjust it to the given context (you don't want to send out information about a train's schedule on the “wrong” platform or data news from Baltimore to people living in L.A. etc.) Getting Started: How to Use Drupal for Powering Your Digital Signs Here are the very basic steps to take: enter the right command in Drush for collecting your data next store your credentials in Drupal 8 “trigger” caching (yet, be cleverly selective about what you cach, since you can't, obviously, cach everything when it's real-time data that you need to deliver) parse your collected data, using Drupal 8 to “spread” it to all the right devices, following the right content model path Getting Data from Drupal to Your Digital Signs: How Does It Work? Before you go ahead and pick the obvious answers to this question, “pull” or “push”, you'd better consider all the “pieces of the puzzle”: you can't really rely on the pull method since that would put a tremendous pressure on your server's shoulders (and heat up your devices) you can't rely on a “multiple APIs” method either, since real-time data restricts you to a to a highly selective caching (unlike on web pages) you can't reload as many times as needed, like on the web there's limited or no user interactivity involved (the huge blue screen can be viewed by thousands of people and the only thing they can do is just... stare at it) “Can't do this, can't do that: but what is it that I CAN do to make this data transfer work?” “You use websockets!” It's this solution that will provide you with an almost instantaneous, two-way type of communication for a longer time! It's One of Those Perfect Contexts of Use for “Exploiting” Drupal's Scalability Apart from being incredibly flexible, Drupal's highly scalable, too! We all know it, even those that don't use Drupal know it! A Drupal-powered digital signage system is the perfect “context” for leveraging this scalability. And it's going to be of great help when you think of the whole network of devices involved here! Drupal's powerful enough to send out the collected data via one of the websocket channels that you'll use for transferring your data to your devices. Moreover, it can multiply that data for as many devices as your network has. Unlimited scalability! Think Beyond Content Model: Think “Device Model”, Too! … for Drupal has the right capabilities for collecting, processing data and following the content model, yet you need to “give it some hints” regarding the devices, too. The devices that those digital signs will get displayed on. Let it know what is it that these devices can do, which messages get “triggered” by which one of the digital signs. In short: a well structured, crucial information-stuffed device model's needed, too! Overall: What Does Drupal Need to Know? If you want your Drupal-powered digital signage system to work at its full potential, then you need to “empower” Drupal 8 with all the key information: 1. what data goes to which one of your interconnected digital signage devices 2. the format that Drupal needs to display that data in (along with language, size screen, and other related key data) And now in order to “proof” your data, to ensure that it's just your own devices that have access to it, you can: whitelist your digital signage system (leveraging the metadata that Drupal can collect for you) establish TFA for all the involved users ensure that your services of choice (whether it's Google, Amazon or another one) ask devices for authentication How Does a Drupal-Powered Digital Signage System Handle Security? And this is, indeed, a “sore point” when dealing with digital signs! They're particularly vulnerable in case of cyber attacks. Now that we've pointed out the “problem”, let's jump to the possible solutions that you have: 1. this is a no-brainer and yet, we feel like adding this “rule of thumb”, too: always change the passwords that your devices ship with! 2. consider restricted access to them 3. ensure that the software you're using comes along with a patch/updates schedule, too, and that you remember to run those updates, periodically 4. secure your source data: get it validated and audited before you “release it out into the wild” 5. use SSL And now all there's left for us to add is: good luck with your first Drupal-powered digital signage system!
Adrian Ababei / Jun 10'2017